March 5, 2024

Ignition Interlock Removal Laws Repeat Offenses Drink Driving Lower Lower

States that have laws regarding when ignition interlock devices can be removed from the vehicles of drunk driving offenders have significantly lower rates of driving under the influence (DUI) offenses than states that do not. Over a four-year period, both Tennessee and Washington, which both have compliance-based removal laws, saw significantly lower rates of recidivism than Arkansas and Iowa, which do not have such laws.

Those are the main results of the a new study recently released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), a nonprofit organization representing state highway safety offices, has addressed measures to help reduce the number of repeat drunk driving incidents.

“Every day, 36 people die because someone passed out after drinking alcohol. We can and must get that number to zero,” said Jonathan Adkins, the safety association’s chief executive officer, in a statement. “Ignition interlocks are a powerful tool in our fight against the scourge of impaired driving. This new study suggests that legislative requirements governing the removal of IIDs can make them even more effective at preventing alcohol-impaired driving and saving lives.”

An ignition interlock device (IID) uses technology to test a driver’s breath and will prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver is under the influence. The devices are a proven effective tool to significantly reduce drunk driving, according to the study, “The Impact of Compliance-Based Removal Laws on Alcohol Impaired Driving Recidivism.”

Currently, every state has some form of ignition interlock program, but only 33 states and the District of Columbia have compliance-based removal laws, which mandate that drivers with an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle must have a certain number of violation-free days before the device can be removed.

For the study, researchers analyzed data provided by the states for the period January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2019, comparing two states with compliance-based removal (CBR) laws to two states without them. Alcohol-impaired driving conviction rates in Tennessee and Washington were 1.7% and 3.7%, respectively. Rehousing rates for the two states without removal statutes based on compliance – Arkansas (5.6%) and Iowa (6%) were higher.

“While there are a number of factors that may influence drunk driving recidivism,” the study noted, “the data suggest that CBR requirements can be a promising tool to address these high-risk drivers and that states without these laws should consider implementing them.”

Drunk driving remains one of the deadliest preventable behaviors accounting for nearly one-third of the nation’s traffic fatalities. Alcohol-impaired driving deaths have increased by 31% in just two years, rising from 10,196 in 2019 to 13,384 in 2021, researchers noted.

If systems such as ignition interlock devices were installed on all vehicles, between 9,000 and nearly 12,000 deaths per year could be prevented, according to a recent study, “ Potential lives saved by in-vehicle alcohol detection systems.

“Ignition interlock devices help prevent impaired driving, create safer roads and save lives. However, people who already have one installed still have a surprising number of attempts to drive while impaired,” Sabra Rosener, senior vice president of legislative affairs for Consumer Safety Technologywhich funded the report, it said in a statement.

“With stronger regulations, we can help ensure behavior change and better protect our communities, Rosener added. “We can also empower individuals to take responsibility for their actions by giving them the tools and time they need to make responsible choices.”

For more information, click here; to read the full study, click here.

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