Ignition Interlocks Reduce Drunk Driving in Virginia
Drinking alcohol and driving is a major problem in the United States. There are almost 300,000 cases of someone driving while intoxicated every day in this country. This reckless behavior costs the United States $200 billion dollars and causes the deaths of 28 people a day. This problem affects everyone given that on any given day, your family shares the roadways with more than 2 million drunk drivers who have had at least three past convictions of driving while under the influence of alcohol.
One thing that is so troubling about this trend is the propensity for certain people to repeatedly drink and drive. The average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before a first arrest and studies show that their arrest does little to reduce their rate of drinking and driving. About a third of the drunk driving problem that kills over 10,000 people each year and injures about 350,000 more comes from repeat offenders. One common tactic to reduce this repeated offender phenomenon is suspending the licenses of convicted drunk drivers. While suspending the license of these individuals makes sense, in reality, 75 percent of those with a suspended license continue to drive, despite the severe consequences. Thus their arrest did nothing to reduce the threat to the safety of you and your loved ones. This is why ignition interlock devices are so important. This technology acts like a lock on your car, which will only open if you pass a breathalyzer test. These devices would require drivers to prove they are sober before the car will start. Recently the Virginia legislators gave the courts the power to mandate these devices installed on a car on a DUI conviction.
An ignition interlock is a device about the size of a cell phone that is wired into the ignition system of a vehicle. In many states, people convicted of a DUI are forced to install this device in their cars. Thus in these states, a drunk driver must blow into the device in order to start their vehicle. 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.
Studies from across the country have shown that by installing ignition interlocks into all convicted drunk drivers’ cars, you can substantially reduce the incidence of drunk driving across the board. Oregon, Arizona, Louisiana and New Mexico have all seen their drunk driving deaths drop by more than 30 percent after all-offender interlock laws were passed. The CDC has also found that over 66 percent of the reduction in drunk driving numbers in these states was attributable to the use of ignition interlocks, thus saving thousands of lives and preventing tens of thousands of injuries each year.
Currently, 25 states require interlocks for all offenders. Luckily Virginia is one of the states that mandates that an ignition interlock device is put into the car of any DUI offender. This is a brilliant piece of technology that has saved lives by keeping those incapable of safely operating a vehicle off the roads.
If you have been hurt in an accident involving someone whose judgment was impaired by the effects of alcohol, seek immediate medical assistance and then contact Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers for a free consultation at 757.455.0077. When it counts, count on Cooper Hurley.