2. Ignition Interlocks As part of the Campaign , MADD’s top legislative priority in every state has been to pass ignition interlock laws for all drunk driving offenders. Ignition interlocks, or in-car breathalyzers, force offenders to provide a sober breath sample before operating their vehicles. It is a device about the size of a cell phone that is wired into the ignition system of a vehicle. To start their vehicle, a convicted drunk driver must blow into the device. If they have a measurable amount of alcohol in their system, the vehicle will not start. It is a simple and economical way to make sure that offenders can drive to and from work, but that they cannot drive drunk. Every state in the nation has an ignition interlock law of some kind. For the past 11 years, MADD has been advocating for ignition interlocks for all drunk drivers, starting with the first offense, with the firm belief that technology is the best defense available to combat the tragedies caused by drunk driving. When MADD’s Campaign started, only New Mexico had an all-offender ignition interlock law. Today, 32 states and the District of Columbia require ignition interlocks after the first offense for offenders who had a .08 BAC and above. Research shows that there is a 15 percent reduction in DUI deaths in states that have all-offender ignition interlock laws, and if adopted nationwide, an additional 1,000 lives could be saved each year. 17 A license suspension alone is not effective, as studies show that 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers will continue to drive on a suspended license. 18 In fact, the average drunk driver has driven 80 times before their first arrest. 19 According to the CDC, interlocks reduce recidivism by 65 percent, and 70 percent of the public supports interlocks. Congress supports interlocks, too. As part of an incentive grant program through the highway reauthorization bill, Congress has fully endorsed the use of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. According to the 2017 MADD Ignition Interlock Report, 2.3 million attempts to drive drunk have been stopped since the implementation of interlock laws. Ignition interlocks stopped 350,000 drunk driving attempts between December 2015 and December 2016 alone.
Current information about state interlock laws can be found at madd.org/state-statistics 3. Advanced Vehicle Technology
In 2006, NHTSA and leading auto makers joined together to create a bold, new program to research the feasibility of new technology that would stop drivers from operating a vehicle if drunk. The result was the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), whose goal is to create a passive alcohol detection system to prevent impaired driving. To be successful, DADSS must be accurate, reliable and totally passive for the driver. 17 Kaufman, University of Pennsylvania, “Impact of State Ignition Interlock Laws on Alcohol-Involved Crash Deaths in the United States,” March 2016 18 California DMV, “Specific Deterrent Evaluation of the Ignition Interlock Pilot Program in California,” June 2016 19 Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Crime in the United States: 2014” https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime- in-the-u.s.-2014/tables/table-29 Incidence data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Alcohol-Impaired Driving Among Adults — United States, 2012.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. August 7, 2015 / 64(30);814-817
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