When MADD was first founded, driver’s license suspension was thought to be an effective countermeasure for convicted drunk drivers. However, conservative estimates now indicate that convicted drunk drivers drive drunk more than 80 times before being caught. What’s more, 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive with a suspended license. Why do they do this? Because they can. Clearly, long-term license suspension is not an effec- tive consequence for the majority of convicted offenders. An ignition interlock device is the most current technology proven to effectively stop convicted drunk drivers from repeating the crime. The de- vice is a breath-test system linked to a vehicle’s ignition. Before convicted drunk driving offend- ers start their vehicles, they must first blow into the device. The vehicle will not start unless the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is below a pre-set limit. Interlocks have various features designed to ensure that offenders can’t beat the system. EVERY STATE, EVERY OFFENDER IGNITION INTERLOCKS:
Some are calibrated to have rolling retests, which require a driver to provide breath tests at regular intervals, preventing drivers from asking a sober friend to start the car or to drink while driving or to leave the car idling in a parking lot while drinking. Use of interlocks often reduces repeated offenses by more than two-thirds. The device is leased from an interlock provider for approximately $50 to $75 per month. An additional service charge, typically between $50 and $100, is required to install the device. Taxpayers are not penalized, since every state with an all-offender interlock law requires the offender to pay these costs. When the interlock sentence is over, the offender simply has the device removed and resumes normal driving privileges.
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