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Deterring Drunk Driving: Ignition Interlocks on All Cars

Citizens caught driving drunk in 15 US states may face the issuance of a vehicle interlock system as part of their penalty, effective Jan. 1. On the first of January, Connecticut became the 15th state to require the interlock system for all drivers – even first time offenders – who are convicted of driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above the legal limit.

Other states also participate in the interlock program, to a lesser degree; 24 other states require that repeat offenders or highly drunk drivers (those with a BAC above 0.15) have the interlock system installed in their cars after conviction.

The interlock system is a device that is installed into the ignition of the car. When installed, the car cannot be started until the driver cleanly blows into a breathalyzer. A sober driver may drive; a driver influenced by alcohol may not.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the group that has most heavily pushed for the state-mandated interlock system, believes that the device can save lives. If a driver who is under the influence of alcohol tries to start his car, he will not be able to until he sobers up, meaning that fewer drunk drivers will be on the road to cause harm.

As more and more states join the current 15 who immediately issue interlock systems for any driver convicted of driving while drunk, more people speculate that other states will join the less lenient program – or even require the system be installed in all cars, regardless of a drunk driving conviction.

The interlock system is only one step to keeping drunk drivers off the roads. Helping alcoholics recover at a substance abuse treatment center is also integral to minimizing drunk driving. Substance abuse treatment centers can help alcoholics realize how much harm drunk driving can cause.

For more information about alcohol rehab, please call Vista Taos Renewal Center, a premier substance abuse treatment center located in New Mexico, one of the first states to require the interlock devices for drunk driving offenders.

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