Drunk driving is a rampant problem in the United States.
It’s so serious that technology has had to evolve to counteract it. Alongside awareness campaigns and preventative measures the ignition interlock problems is starting to spread out from state to state. Designed to prevent repeat offenders from driving while under the influence, this design may very well become standard in many single-passenger cars and trucks. Drunk driving doesn’t just damage property and make the roads difficult to navigate, but separates people from their family members every single day.
It’s time to step up and see what can be done about a virulent issue that only seems to be getting worse.
Drunk driving takes on many different forms, but it’s all rooted in the same problem — a lack of responsibility and a dismissal of the very real dangers of operating a vehicle while inhibited. The United States sees over 25 people dying every single day as a result of drunk driving. These statistics don’t even take into account other common hazards like distracted driving, road rage, and bad weather conditions. Getting a DUI isn’t the end of the matter, either, as some drivers proceed to become repeat offenders. This is where the ignition interlock problem comes in.
Determining what constitutes a drunk driving case depends on a few different factors. The general BAC (or blood alcohol content) level required to charge is 0.08%, with the exception of Utah at 0.05%. Recent studies have shown drivers with BAC levels of 0.08% or higher involved in fatal crashes were up to six times more likely to have a prior conviction. In fact, it’s thought the average drunk driver has driven under the influence several times prior to their first arrest. Staying alert and constantly curbing these incidents before they begin is key to providing lasting change.
The long-lasting effects of drunk driving ripple throughout several layers of society. Recent estimates have found the yearly cost of alcohol-related crashes to be more than $60 billion, ranging from property damages to hospital visits. In many states it’s becoming more common to be arrested for and convicted of a DUI with a BAC below 0.08%, so serious is this issue. The ignition interlock problem is being buffed out little-by-little, from making them harder to remove without a professional to having malfunctions all but eliminated..
Ignition interlock devices — sometimes referred to as the car breathalyzer — is designed to put a dent in drunk driving rates and keep people safe. Interlocks have been proven to reduce repeat offenses even after the device is removed, by up to 40% according to recent statistics. Compare this to offenders who have never installed an interlock, where the percentages are much more dismal. The ignition interlock device works by prohibiting the engine from starting when alcohol is detected on the breath and will prompt the driver to perform a rolling retest five to 15 minutes afterwards.
Thanks to the hard efforts of ignition interlock companies the country is starting to see some changes. When installed and properly maintained (meaning no malfunctions or reduced effectiveness) interlocks have been closely linked with a 70% reduction in arrest rates for impaired driving. There are an estimated 150,000 interlock systems and counting across the United States, generally placed for drivers with several DUI convictions. With time the ignition interlock device may very well be more widespread.
Drinking and driving may be a rampant problem, but it’s one being actively challenged with the aid of the interlock chandler.