The verdict is close to unanimous: organizations that study and follow alcohol-impaired driving issues have concluded that ignition Interlocks are an effective tool in the fight against drinking and driving. All US states now have ignition interlock laws, and a majority of states mandate the devices for all DUI offenses, including first offenses, for a good reason: the devices are the only means of actually preventing an impaired person from taking to the road. License suspensions are routinely ignored, often with disastrous results. Other punishments can help, but there is no doubt anymore that interlock devices lower the number of alcohol-related collisions and save lives.
Here’s what impartial organizations and publications have to say about the impact of ignition interlocks on road safety:
“Ignition interlock laws reduce alcohol-involved fatal crashes. Increasing the spread of interlock laws that are mandatory for all offenders would have significant public health benefit.” – American Journal of Preventive Medicine
“…the era in which alcohol-sensing technology in vehicles can be successfully deployed to protect the public from alcohol-impaired drivers statewide seems to have arrived.” – NHTSA, Evaluation of the New Mexico Ignition Interlock Program
“These results seem to indicate that if you provide these more serious DUI offenders with a legal way to drive (e.g. sober and only in a vehicle with an operational Interlock), most will obey the law, thus protecting the public safety and themselves. In contrast, under license suspension, many or most of the same types of serious DUI offenders (with no legal way to drive) will continue to drive and frequently will do so intoxicated.” – AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
“MADD supports laws that would require that offenders install these devices (Ignition Interlocks) on their vehicles during probationary periods and as a prerequisite to being issued a limited driving permit, a work permit or a probationary or restricted license, where such permits are permitted by law.” – Mothers Against Drunk Driving
“Each and every first offender should be assessed for alcohol problems and dependency, and sentencing alternatives such as legitimate treatment programs and Ignition Interlock technology should be available to the courts.” – National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence
“Requiring ignition interlocks for all drunk-driving convictions was associated with 15% fewer alcohol-involved crash deaths, compared with states with less-stringent requirements. Interlocks are a life-saving technology that merit wider use.” – American Journal of Public Health