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DUI Ignition Interlocks: Dangerous but Profitable

DUI Ignition Interlocks: Dangerous but Profitable

Information courtesy of Lawrence Taylor - DUIblog

Individuals convicted of DUI are often required to have an ignition interlock device installed (at their expense) in their cars. These notoriously inaccurate and unreliable gizmos are designed to prevent the ignition from working until after the driver has breathed into a mouthpiece and registered alcohol-free (although it takes little imagination to realize that a drunk driver can start the car by simply having his passenger breathe into the device). This latest weapon in the "war on drunk driving" has been adopted in many states with the strong lobbying of MADD -- and of manufacturers who make a huge profit on the devices. Consider a story in today's (March 16, 2005) Arizona Republic:

First-time DUI offenders could agree to equip their vehicles with an ignition interlock device to prevent drunken driving rather than face suspended driver's licenses under a bill that breezed through the Senate on Tuesday.....

Alberto Gutier, a former highway safety director lobbying for the Arizona Interlock Distributors Association, said increased sales isn't the bill's purpose.

"It's not about expanding the market, it's about preventing drunk driving," Gutier said.

The bottom line, of course, is: Do IIDs prevent drunk driving? Do they make our streets safer? MADD claims that their "research" shows they do:

Interlocks have been shown to be effective in Maryland, Alberta, California and elsewhere with results ranging from 50 to 90 percent reductions in subsequent offenses by those offenders who were assigned interlock devices, compared with those who were not.....

While interlocks are not the only solution, as offenders tend to go back to their old ways once the device is off of the vehicle, they certainly keep the roads safer while these devices are in place.

Attorney Kathleen Carey

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