The object of the Ignition Interlock device (IID) is to restrict drivers who are above the legal limit of alcohol from driving. It is designed to prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver fails to give a breath sample under the BAC limit that has been pre-programmed into the device. IID’s are used as an alternative to sentencing those charged with driving under the influence.
In recent studies, the International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety states that when IID’s are installed and monitored properly and on a normal basis, there was a 40-95% decrease in the rate of repeat DUI offenses. This rate was based on offenders with the IID’s remaining on their vehicle. The benefits of having these devices installed in a vehicle of a DUI offender are great.
The device can help them realize the impact their driving makes on others around them, and their safety. The device can be installed independently or can be court ordered. Usually when it is court ordered, it is in place of or in conjunction with a worse sentence, or a provision to probation or parole. Some offenders do not realize the danger they pose to themselves and others by becoming a repeat offender, and sometimes it’s a tough decision courts have to make.
A judge can give a first time DUI offender a smaller fine and no sentence, therefore he/she doesn’t feel the full punishment. A month goes by and they’re back on the road while under the influence and get into an accident, where someone else is injured. The judge would now feel guilty for not having imposed a bigger sanction on this person, when he was just trying to be lenient to a first time offender. This is where this decision becomes a morally tough one for a judge to make, so the IID assists in that aspect.
The IID is an alternative to harsher sentencing, and serves as a monitor to prevent the person from repeating their offense as long as the device is installed. The device is a constant guide monitoring all the activities of the driver, therefore cannot be tampered with or bypassed. After the car is started with a clean breath sample, the device will demand more during operation to assure that the same person is behind the wheel and no further alcohol has been consumed. If the person fails to provide a clean sample, a series of alarms will go off to alert others on the road, especially law enforcement.
Even if the person was to pull over and shut the car off until they have sobered up, they won’t get away with attempting to trick the device. Once the data is downloaded and monitored during a device calibration, it will be evident what the offender has attempted. The judge may then impose a larger fine or even suspend the person’s license.
IID’s have proven to be highly effective in keeping drunk drivers off the roads. They have also assisted repeat offenders in learning from their past mistakes, and keeping them in line from further committing offenses. The general public believes IID’s to be an effective method to lower the number of drunk drivers, and DUI offenses, accidents, and accident-related deaths across the U.S. and Canada.