If your life has been impacted in any type of way by a drunk driver, you will agree that additional steps need to be taken to ensure that convicted drunk drivers are not allowed to continue to drive drunk. While various options have been discussed, one of the options that has been proposed for a number of years is installing ignition interlock devices on vehicles which are owned, and operated, by those who have been convicted of drunk driving. While all fifty states offer this to judges as a sentencing option, only fifteen states have made it mandatory for all convicted offenders. In the other states it is at the judge's discretion how they use and impose this option. To get the laws changed in the remaining states, your members of Congress, as well as your State Legislator need to know that this is something that the people want and support. Where do you stand on this important position?
What Are Ignition Interlock Devices?
An ignition interlock device, which is often called a breath alcohol ignition interlock device, is a component that once it is installed in a vehicle, requires the driver to breathe into the device, prior to being able to start the vehicle. If a breath is not provided, the device will not allow the signal to go from the ignition to the starter.
Once the breath is provided, the device will analyze and register the breath-alcohol concentration (BAC) of the driver, and will determine whether or not the driver is safe to drive. If the device registers that the driver's BAC exceeds the legal limits to drive, the driver will be warned, and the alarms that have been set up on the vehicle will be set off. These alarms will continue until the vehicle is turned off.
What Are The Advantages?
The number one advantage of the ignition interlock devices is that it will prevent an intoxicated driver from getting behind the wheel and moving their vehicle. The alarms that accompany a high reading will notify others that the person should not be behind the wheel. This will encourage other people to help the driver find alternative transportation home. In some major cities, there are car services that will even provide this ride home for free.
Studies have shown that those who have had to install an ignition interlock device are less likely to reoffend than those who have not had one installed.
Many drivers will face the revocation of their driving privileges if they choose not to have it installed. While inconvenient, this option allows them to continue to drink and drive. Mother's Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) estimates that 50 to 75% of drivers who have already been convicted of drinking and driving will continue to drive on a suspended license.
The device provides a record that can be reviewed at future court hearings, which will show if the driver poses additional risks of drinking and driving. Above all else, it has been shown to help save lives.
As with anything that is made into law, there are always two sides. There are concerns that have prevented some states from creating legislation to make the devices mandatory. The concerns tend to hinge on two basic points.
One of these is the reliability of the device. While most devices on the market have a zero tolerance for any type of alcohol on the breath of the person driving, most states will not consider a driver legally under the influence until they have a BAC of at .08. This would mean that if the driver chose to have a glass of wine with dinner, or a beer after work, they would not be able to start their vehicle. Considering that the only people this legislation would apply to are those who have already been convicted of drunk driving, many are already ordered to refrain from alcohol.
The other concern is the rolling retest that most devices require. To ensure that the driver is the one that blew the initial breath, the device will often require that a breath be given every so many minutes or miles while the vehicle is moving. There are valid concerns that this will distract the driver, and could be the cause of an accident.
For most people the advantages definitely outweigh the concerns. The ability to save lives overrides the concerns and more. If your life have been impacted by a drunk driver, call your Legislator, or Congressman to let them know how you feel about ignition interlock devices. Ask them to pass legislation to put tighter laws in place in an effort to help to deter drinking and driving.
If you have been charged with a DUI and want to know how agreeing to have an ignition interlock device installed on your car can help reduce your sentence, contact a DUI attorney by visiting http://www.hogankimrey.com.