It’s an unfortunate fact that approximately 28 people die every day in the United States because someone has chosen to drive while drunk. As a way to prevent people from driving while under the influence of alcohol, the ignition interlock device was developed for automotive vehicles.
Currently, there are approximately 150,000 interlock systems that have been placed in cars driven by individuals with multiple Driving Under the Influence (DUI) convictions. More of these devices continue to be installed as preventative measures. This is because they have demonstrated their effectiveness to a large extent.
Blood Alcohol Content and Legal Limits
The legal limit in most states is a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.8%. In some states, however, drivers may still be arrested and convicted of a DUI with a lower BAC. When fatal crashes have occurred, drivers with BACs of 0.08 or higher were more likely to have had prior convictions. Recent data shows that these individuals were actually six times more likely to have been previously convicted for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) than those individuals without alcohol in their system that were in fatal crashes.
How Ignition Interlock Devices Work
Basically, when an ignition interlock device is installed, it prevents the engine from starting if someone has a specific BAC. This occurs, for example, if the device registers someone is attempting to operate their vehicle when their BAC is above a pre-set level. While this level does vary, it is usually pre-set at about 0.02 BAC.
In the event that a driver is able to start their car, most of these ignition interlock devices will then perform a rolling re-test. These tests will usually be required between five to 15 minutes following the time the car has started. It is also important to note that these rolling re-tests will be performed randomly while the driver continues his or her trip.
How Interlock Devices Have Reduced Repeat Offenses
The purpose of these interlock devices is to assist with reducing the incidence of repeat offenses. This has been demonstrated even after the device has been removed in 39% of the cases. When compared with those offenders that either weren’t required to have an interlock installed or were unable to do so on their specific vehicle, repeat offenses continued to be reduced with the aforementioned drivers.
Once these devices have been installed, additional data shows that there has been a greater overall reduction in arrests for impaired driving. More specifically, arrests for this reason have been reduced by approximately 70%, which is significant.
The Possibility of Mandatory Interlocks
It has been proposed that interlocks could become mandatory equipment in all cars. If this does occur, the BAC levels will be set considerably below the legal limit of 0,08. Experts indicate that the BAC levels will most likely be set between 0.03 to 0.04.
Locating an Interlock Installer
If you’ve been court-ordered to have an ignition interlock device, or car breathalyzer, installed in your vehicle, then you will need to locate a certified, licensed, and bonded company to assist you. When you already have one of these devices installed in your car, and you believe that it is malfunctioning, you will also need to visit an approved company to have the device tested. In some instances, it is possible that the device will need to be replaced.