Ignition interlock devices (IIDs) are machines installed in vehicles as a requirement for certain drunk driving offenders. Every state in the U.S. mandates the use of IIDs in at least some circumstances following conviction for impaired driving. The devices force a motorist to test his breath-alcohol concentration before starting a car.
Ignition interlock devices must be paid for by the offender who is required to install the device as part of his penalties for a drunk driving conviction. All motorists who use the car will end up having to test their BAC before starting to drive, simply because that's the way these systems work.
Installing an ignition interlock device can be expensive and having the device installed on your vehicle can be embarrassing. Avoiding the required installation of an ignition interlock device is one big reason, among many, why so many motorists fight so hard to avoid a DUI conviction.
Now, new evidence published by Mothers Against Drunk Driving aims to show how well these devices work. MADD's recently-released research is likely aimed at convincing every state to adopt mandatory ignition interlock devices for all motorists convicted of DUI.
According to MADD, ignition interlock devices stopped 2.3 million attempts on the part of motorists to drive while impaired by alcohol since 2006. In Alabama alone, 1,943 attempts to drive drunk were stopped by the IID and in the last year alone, 765 motorists were prevented from operating their vehicles because their blood alcohol concentration was too high.
Alabama became very strict with its laws on ignition interlock devices in 2014, according to Alabama.com. Any defendant who is convicted of a second DUI with five years of the first conviction is required to have an IID installed after getting their license back following their license suspension.
First time DUI offenders also must have an ignition interlock device installed if they had a BAC of .15 or higher, if there was a passenger in the car with them under the age of 14, if they refused a breathalyzer testing or if they caused injury to anyone else. Usually, motorists must have their IID installed for a six-month period, but repeat offenders must have the device installed for longer and violations while the device is installed could also lead to its use for a longer time period.
For motorists who aren't required to install an IID, they may also be able to ask a judge to use one so they can avoid a license suspension. If the judge agrees, a special license is issued to the convicted DUI offender stimulating he must only drive a car with an ignition interlock device installed.
Although these rules are strict, Mothers Against Drunk Driving wants every state to impose mandatory IID requirements for every driver, even after a first offense. The recent study could help to strengthen MADD's case for more widespread IID use and could potentially result in Alabama laws becoming stricter.