Insurance Institute Study says Ignition Interlocks for all DUI offenders will save lives

From the website of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety:

Laws requiring all impaired-driving offenders to install alcohol interlocks reduce the number of impaired drivers in fatal crashes by 16 percent, a new IIHS study shows. If all states without such laws adopted them, more than 500 additional lives could be saved each year.

A separate study shows that those laws could be made even more effective. In a detailed examination of Washington’s interlock policies, Institute researchers found that, as the state’s interlock laws were strengthened, interlock installations went up and recidivism declined. At the same time, more DUI charges were reduced to lesser offenses that don’t require interlocks. That suggests states could increase the impact of their interlock laws by closing such loopholes.

The two studies are the latest to support the expansion of alcohol interlocks — in-vehicle breath-testing units that require a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) below a certain level, typically somewhere between 0.02 and 0.04 percent, before the vehicle can be started.

More than a quarter of U.S. crash deaths occur in crashes in which at least one driver has a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. The prevalence of impaired driving in fatal crashes has changed little in the past two decades, and interlock laws are one of the few recent policy innovations that have made a difference.

Forty-five states require interlocks for at least certain impaired-driving offenders. Twenty-eight states, the District of Columbia and four California counties have some type of interlock requirement that applies to first-time offenders.

Even when they are mandated for first offenders, interlocks come into play only after a DUI arrest, so their direct purpose is to reduce recidivism. Like other types of sanctions, however, they may act as a deterrent for those who haven’t yet committed a first offense if they are well-publicized.

…For the analysis, the authors grouped together two types of all-offender interlock laws: those that require all offenders, including first-time offenders, to install interlocks in order to have their license reinstated and those that only require it to drive during a post-conviction suspension. The analysis controlled for factors besides interlocks that could affect crashes.

Laws that required interlocks for repeat offenders only cut the number of drivers with BACs of 0.08 percent by 3 percent compared with no interlock law, and that effect wasn’t statistically significant, the study showed. Laws that required them for both repeat offenders and offenders with high BACs provided an 8 percent benefit.

Read the entire story at the IIHS website at:

MADD gives Illinois its highest rating for DUI Enforcement


Illinois is doing something right when it comes to drunk driving prevention.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving rated Illinois a “Five-Star State”, the highest possible rating from the group.

“We are honored to receive this recognition from MADD” says Secretary Ann Schneider.  “We have zero tolerance for drunk driving and along with law enforcement throughout the state, we work hard to put programs in place to keep our motorists safe.”

Some of the reasons for Illinois’ top rating is for the all-offender ignition interlock law that went into effect in 2009, as well as sobriety checkpoints.

The rating comes from MADD’s 2014 Campaign to eliminate Drunk Driving report.

I am not surprised.  I will quote myself from a few weeks ago:

According to the Secretary of State, 29% of DUIs result in convictions and 66% result in supervision (a disposition only available for first time offenders).  Only 5% of cases fit into “other” which I assume means either not guilty, reduced to a lesser charge or some other type of dismissal.

So this means that in Illinois, the prosecution wins 95% of the time in DUI cases!

…According to the Secretary of State 85% of DUIs are committed by first offendersThe number of recidivists are small.  The system is working.

Should all school buses have interlock devices installed?

There has been a push in New York to have all school buses fitted with alcohol ignition interlock devices to prevent any bus from being driven by an intoxicated driver.

Many parents are all for this legislation, especially after several incidents of drunk school bus drivers.

The drivers are not happy.  According to this story, “bus drivers’ unions call the mandates discriminatory. ‘Having my drivers have to go through a process that’s only reserved for people that have been convicted of a crime,’ Paul Mori of the New York School Bus Contractors Association.”

In Illinois, any bus driver who commits a DUI in a school bus transporting persons under the age of 18 is guilty of a Class 4 felony.  Also, if a person has a school bus driver’s permit and gets a DUI or reckless driving in a personal vehicle will have his or her bus permit disqualified for three years.

This is an example of competing values in conflict — on the one hand, extra precaution and safety for our children and on the other, a willingness to make the insulting presumption that school bus drivers have a high likelihood of coming to work drunk and that they do not care about the well-being of the children they transport, plus the public not giving much weight to the inconvenience of making bus drivers provide breath samples every time they start their vehicles and every time the device calls for a “rolling re-test.”

What do you think?