The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently issued a study which recommended the adoption of national standards to require ignition interlock devices for all first time drunk drivers. Ignition interlock devices prevent a car from starting unless the driver provides a breath sample. Many devices require period breath samples while the driver is driving in order for the car to remain on. Ignition interlocks have been shown to reduce drunk driving and DUI car accidents in many jurisdictions.
“An interlock law that covers all people convicted of DUI reduces recidivism by 11 to 12 percent,” said a researcher who authored the study. “We found that the higher the rate of interlock installations, the lower recidivism would be.”
Four California counties make ignition interlock devices mandatory for first-time drunk driving offenders. Only 15 states require ignition interlocks for all first time drunk drivers and measures to increase the use of these devices has met some resistance from restaurant industry groups.
“It’s actually nothing new,” said the managing director of a national restaurant association who downplayed the significance of the IIHS study. “As long as the interlock is in the car, there’s a reduction in recidivism. But in most states, the offender only has to keep the interlock for about six months. As soon as you take it off, recidivism goes back up.”