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Ignition Interlock Systems Can Reduce DUI Car Accidents

As an Atlanta injury lawyer, I often find that a significant number of wrongful deaths and serious personal injuries arise from drunk driving accidents involving repeat offenders.A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that the use of ignition interlock devices is successful in preventing repeat drunk driving. Such prevention would unquestionably result in a reduction in drunk driving accidents, injuries and deaths. Each and every Atlanta injury lawyer should advocate for the use of these devices.

The study found that recidivism rates for DUI dropped by approximately 67% when ignition interlock devices were used.Many states including Georgia, have adopted alcohol ignition interlock devices as part of their efforts against DUI.In Georgia, persons convicted of DUI can be ordered by courts to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles if they have prior DUI convictions too.The device requires drivers to blow into it, and measures the alcohol on his breath.If the alcohol content is found to be excessive, the device prevents the motorist from starting the engine.The researchers say that these devices are so useful in preventing drunk driving accidents, that they should be made a mandatory part of DUI prevention efforts around the country. As an injury lawyer, I couldn’t agree more.

Ignition interlock devices receive a lot of criticism from DUI attorneys and the beverage industry.However, these devices have become more sophisticated, accurate and reliable over the years.It’s much harder to “fool” an ignition interlock system now than it used to be a couple of years ago.Some devices require the user to hum while breathing into the tube.

The most effective way to prevent drunk drivers from attempting to drive in an intoxicated state again, is to simply shut the engine down if they are intoxicated. No engine, no accidents. License suspensions, fines and penalties have a very limited effect on reducing DUI recidivism rates.

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  • Eric Myers

    Great article. I couldn’t agree more. I live in Washington and they take DUIs here very seriously. I know a few people who have had to have ignition interlocks installed in their car after getting DUIs. I think that is is a good move and I am glad to see action is being taken to keep our roads safe

  • Richard Matte

    Sadly it is a misconception that the IID is used only to ensure the driver is sober enough to allow the engine of the automobile to be started. When the devices were first manufactured they actually were geared to this end. When it was discovered that upon occasion drivers who had been drinking got a friend to perform the test for them, the manufacturer built into the machine a process referred to as the Random Rolling Retest,

    At random intervals while the car is being driven, the driver will be asked by the machine to provide a breath sample. Within a specified interval of time the breath sample must be provided. If it is not, the horn begins to sound off and the lights begin to flash continuously until the automobile is brought to a complete stop.

    Should you be in a situation which requires your undivided attention while driving, the manufacturer claims you will have enough time to either clear the scene or pull off the road to a stop.. The time frame for this is not given in the instructional video. Failure to provide a successful sample within a predetermined time will cause the horn to sound and the lights to flash continuously until the car is brought to a complete stop and the ignition turned off. A warning to pull off the road will also be provided should you fail the breath test or fail to complete the test within the time limits allowed by the machine. For example, should you drop the device onto the floor of the car and be unable to safely recover it in time, the results are inescapable.

    So what repercussions may result from using this device in a rolling retest?:

    The sequence of events involved not only in manipulating the device but providing the correct steps in the right sequence to provide a breath sample, employ a considerable mental and physical effort when blowing into the handheld monitor and driving in heavy traffic. Taken together, all at the same time, this will result in an unacceptable distraction possibly further resulting in an accident.
    The time frame for providing a sample for the rolling retest can result in considerable driver distraction if he/she is hemmed in, in heavy traffic and attempting to exit a busy freeway. Stress levels may rise unacceptably. Improper lane changes and the like can be extremely hazardous. This has the potential to cause an accident.
    If a drivers fails a rolling retest (for a reason which may be totally unrelated to a sample failure) the resulting cacophony of horn blaring and lights flashing almost surely will cause increased stress levels and distraction inside the car for both driver and passenger(s) and for other drivers in the vicinity. This has the potential to result in an accident.

    In some jurisdictions, the province of Ontario, for example, a new law has come into effect barring the use of handheld devices while driving. This law seems to be specifically geared towards the use of cell phones but is broad enough to include many other activities. It would seem to be hypocritical, that in the list of devices arbitrarily decided to be exempted by the Dept. Of Transportation that the IID be included. You can put away a cell phone in a heartbeat. You caanot ignore the IID in a Random Rolling Retest.