Do Ignition Interlocks Reduce the Number of Repeated Drunk Driving Offenses (DUI/DWI)?

If you’re wondering if ignition interlocks reduce the number of repeat drunk driving offenses, wonder no more. The answer is an unequivocal Yes. Ever since they were first introduced decades ago, ignition interlock devices have kept thousands of people from driving drunk. For this article, we’re using the legal definition of driving drunk, which is driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.

Every state in the United States, as well as Washington DC,  have ignition interlock device laws. That’s no coincidence. Ignition interlock devices (IIDs) have been shown to not only keep people from driving drunk when an IID is installed in their vehicle but to reduce the number of repeat drunk driving offenses (DUI/DWI) after the device is removed.

Currently (2019), 32 states and Washington DC require an ignition interlock device for ANYONE convicted of DUI/DWI. That includes first-time offenders. Some of the other states require an IID for first-time offenders if they had a high BAC, such as .15. Combined with the legal costs of a DUI, the inconvenience of having an ignition interlock device installed is a great deterrent to repeat offenses,

Ignition Interlock Device Facts and Figures

The ignition interlock device industry and highway safety advocates and other researchers have conducted a number of studies and compiled statistics over the years showing how the devices reduce repeat offenses.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), ignition interlock devices have kept more than 2.3 million people from driving drunk (and getting arrested for a repeat offense) since they started keeping track in 2006. That’s the year they started their campaign to end drunk driving.

MADD collected information directly from ignition interlock device manufacturers. No private information was released, but the data showed how many times drivers failed the device breath test. In other words, they blew into the device after they had been drinking, and the device prevented them from starting their car until they sobered up.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) conducted a 30-year analysis of the effects of ignition interlock device laws on fatal motor vehicle crashes. They assessed the effects of IID laws on drunk driving fatalities in the United States from 1982 to 2013. AJPM got their data directly from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

The results show that ignition interlock device laws work. Several key points from the study:

  • Overall, IID laws reduce drunk driving accident fatalities
  • States with laws requiring ignition interlock devices for ALL drunk driving offenders (including first-time offenders) saw a 7% reduction in the number of fatal drunk driving crashes
  • Laws mandating ignition interlock devices for first-time offenders with a high BAC of .15 or more were associated with an 8% decrease in the number of drunk driving fatalities

IIDs Combined with Alcohol Abuse Treatment Reduce Recidivism Further

Many times, one DUI conviction is all it takes for someone to never drive drunk again. The expense, loss of job, family troubles, etc. just aren’t worth it. But people with an alcohol abuse problem or alcohol addiction are more likely to have repeat drunk driving offenses, even if they had to have an ignition interlock device installed. That’s why many states are now adding alcohol abuse treatment to their requirements for getting your license back after a DUI/DWI.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the state of Florida recently worked on a study to compare the recidivism rate (rate of repeat drunk driving offense) of a group of people who had ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles as a result of a drunk driving conviction.

Half of the group had to undergo alcohol abuse treatment during the study, and the other half did not. The study found that two and a half years after the study groups had the ignition interlock devices removed from their vehicles, the group that had alcohol abuse treatment had a 32% lower recidivism rate than the group that did not get treatment.

ALCOLOCK Is Here to Help

At ALCOLOCK, we’re here to help you get your life back. Getting an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle is one big step towards getting your unrestricted license back, and getting your life back to normal after a DUI conviction. If you need to get an ignition interlock device installed, call us at 866-700-9300, or visit our locations page and call the service center nearest you. You can also use our contact form. Generally, we can get you back on the road with an IID installed in your vehicle within 48 hours of your initial call.