2018-Report to the Nation

Ignition Interlocks for All Convicted Drunk Drivers

Ignition interlocks are in-car breathalyzers that stop a vehicle from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds a preset limit. This is the only technology currently available to block an impaired driver from driving. When the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® began, only one state, New Mexico, required interlocks for all convicted offenders. MADD is advocating vigorously in all 50 states to pass these laws. Today, 30 states and Washington, D.C. require interlocks for all drunk drivers, and every state has some type of ignition interlock law, including 30 states that require the devices for suspected drunk drivers who refuse an alcohol test.

Numerous scientific studies support the use of ignition interlocks. A compilation of studies reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show a 67 percent reduction in recidivism when ignition interlocks are used. Another study by the University of Pennsylvania found that all-offender ignition interlock laws would reduce drunk driving deaths by 15 percent nationwide.


MADD has made it our top legislative priority to work with each state to enact the strongest possible ignition interlock laws. Those laws require ignition interlocks as the only option for driving after a drunk driving offense. The devices should be installed for a minimum of six months, and removal should be dependent upon successful use of an ignition interlock with additional time added for failed attempts to drive after consuming alcohol.

Ignition interlocks also should be required for suspected drunk driving offenders who refuse an alcohol test and during any administrative license revocation period.

Currently, nearly 350,000 ignition interlocks are in use across the country. With full implementation of ignition interlock laws, the number should easily grow to over 500,000. MADD is monitoring the courts and administrative processes to help states close loopholes and amplify the lifesaving results of requiring ignition interlocks for all offenders.


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