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Drunk driving is a nationwide problem. For some, getting behind the wheel after drinking is automatic that they need a device to stop them from doing it. Now MADD is calling for interlock device laws mandating use of the device after any drunk driving conviction.
In 2006, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) launched its national Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. This lobbying effort had one goal: to save lives by reducing the number of drunk drivers on the road.
One tool MADD uses in its fight against drunk driving is an ignition interlock device. a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) is an electronic device that can be installed into any vehicle. It blocks the car from starting until the driver blows into the device. It then detects the blood alcohol content (BAC) in the person’s breath. If the person’s BAC is above 0.025%, the car won’t start. After 3 tries, it will go into “lock-out” mode, making the vehicle inoperable.
Interlock devices also call for drivers to submit to rolling retests periodically while driving. If the person fails that rolling retest, the car shuts down. The operator then has to take the device in for service before he or she can use the vehicle again.
Michigan law doesn’t require an interlock device as part of every drunk driving sentence. Judges have discretion to order an interlock device be installed in a first-time drunk driver’s vehicle as one of the terms of probation. First time offenders are only required to use interlock if they are convicted of drunk driving with a High BAC (.17% or higher). The Secretary of State also uses interlock devices when granting restricted licenses after a drunk driving license suspension.
This kind of discretionary use of interlock devices isn’t enough for MADD. The organization recently published a report showing that interlock devices have prevented 1.77 million drunk driving attempts. It is now taking the position that all arrested drunk drivers should be required to use an interlock device instead of losing their licenses.
The MADD report notes that 50-75% of drunk drivers continue to drive even after their license is revoked. The likelihood of a second offense drops considerably when an interlock device is removed. Interlock devices can block these repeat offenses by shutting down the driver’s car when they are unable to provide a clean breath sample. But where license suspension is used, there is nothing standing between a drunk person and their car except a court order. MADD is calling on legislatures to strengthen interlock device laws in all 50 states and cut down on the number of drunk drivers on the road.
David Christensen is an auto accident attorney at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He represents the victims of drunk driving accidents against insurance companies and drunk drivers. If you know someone who has been seriously injured in an alcohol-related car crash, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.