Ignition interlock devices prevent potential drunk drivers from starting their cars. The devices require a passing breath test in order to start the car, and many lawmakers consider them a solution to drunk driving safety issues. However, whether or not an interlock is the best enforcement mechanism is still up for debate.
Researches who analyzed a new set of data on ignition interlocks said that while the device is clearly very effective while it is on cars, its use does not have any relationship to long term driving habits. It seems that interlocks prevent drivers from driving while intoxicated only temporarily, leading some to question whether or not these devices are a good use of taxpayer money.
We have previously discussed the somewhat unreliable nature of a breath test. Breath tests are known to be biased against those with a lower lung capacity, which often includes anyone who is naturally petite and many women. Lower lung capacity can result in a false reading of high blood alcohol content, so drivers may be unable to start their cars even if they are below the legal limit. Ignition interlock devices also run the risk of being improperly calibrated.
With advocates pushing for interlocks to be installed in all DUI offender's cars, costs could soar to over $430 million to supervise and administer the program. With all of these disadvantages, the interlock devices are a questionable solution at a high price tag.
If you have been accused or convicted of a DUI, contact an attorney to find out more about your rights.
Source: USA Today, "Safety group seeks ignition interlocks for all DUI offenders," Larry Copeland, March 6, 2012.
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