Ignition Interlocks: Fighting Drunk Driving

You booze, you cruise, you lose. Many say “I’m fine, I can make it home” or “I’ve only had a couple of drinks, I can drive”. People get used to driving under the influence and think just because they have made it home safely in the past, they will make it home safely every time. But one day they will hear the sound of a siren, see the red flashing lights and a person in uniform knocking at their driver side window.

Police officers pull people over for suspicious driving all the time. Deaths due to driving under the influence is the most unfortunate reality we face today. It causes many injuries and deaths to not only the person operating the vehicle under the influence but is also putting others outside of the vehicle at risk. Drunk driving is one of the most common and dangerous situations an individual can put themselves in and it should concern all of us.

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There has to be more awareness of this problem and the consequences it has on others so more people can realize drinking and driving is an issue and needs to stop.

Every day, almost 29 people in the United States die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes—that's one person every 50 minutes in 2016. Drunk-driving fatalities have fallen by a third in the last three decades; however, drunk-driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year (NHTSA). People usually think they are okay to drive when in reality just having a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .

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02 causes impaired judgement which affects their visual functions, and declines the ability to perform two tasks at the same time. How can we trust someone putting those keys in the ignition and driving away with alcohol in their system, not only putting their life at risk but also others when it has been proven they can not perform two tasks at the same time yet alone a vehicle.

Judgment becomes impaired, and a person’s decision making goes downhill. This fact alone proves that people will always drink and drive no matter what anyone says. Preaching to someone about the evils of drinking and all the consequences will not stop a person. Drunk driving is not something that happens occasionally. It happens everyday of the year. A lot of times, drunk driving victims aren’t the ones who have been drinking. They could be driving home from work one day and get hit by someone who has been drinking. Imagine taking someones life away. One night, one drink, one mistake is all it takes for drunk driving to take its toll. There are many solutions to prevent drunk driving, but they will only work if we put them into play.

One of the solutions to this and a way we can not only put a stop to drunk driving but also lower accidents and deaths due to it is installing ignition interlocks in not only the vehicles of people who have been pulled over in the past for drunk driving and had DUIs but in every vehicle. Ignition interlocks installed in cars measure alcohol on the drivers breath. They are used for people convicted of drunk driving and are highly effective at preventing repeat offenses while installed. Ignition interlocks work like a breathalyzer, it uses a sensor to measure the alcohol in a person’s breath when that individual blows into the device.

Cars equipped with an ignition interlock will not start if the drivers blood alcohol level exceeds a preset limit.Interlock devices should prevent crashes by preventing intoxicated driving, and it has been estimated that installing interlocks on all new vehicles could reduce drunk-driving fatalities by 85 percent (Kaufman,Wiebe). If we instal interlocks for not only first time offenders but for every vehicle, it will have the greatest impact in reducing deaths due to drunk driving. Drivers will think twice about driving while having alcohol in their system, it prevents anyone under the influence from operating a car. It will not only keep them alive but also others. In 2012 there were 27,605 fatal accidents. Of those, 17,455 had driver BAC of zero.

In contrast, there were only 646 fatal accidents in which the driver had a BAC between 0.05% and 0.08%. Thus, for the policy prescription of 0.05% to save 538 lives, alcohol would have to be responsible for over 80% of all such crashes and the policy change would have to be 100% effective. But according to the official traffic fatality reporting system, alcohol was deemed responsible for the accident in only 14% of those crashes (Van Doren). How can we all come together and make a change for the better if we do not hold people accountable for their actions?

According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, states started passing mandatory interlock laws in 1993 and found that with that change there has been a 7 percent decrease in the rate of fatal crashes involving at least one drunk driver in just the first year (Van Doren). Drunk driving remains a leading cause of injury death and a major public health problem. Requiring ignition interlock devices for all drivers convicted of drunk driving was associated with a 15% decrease in alcohol involved motor vehicle crash death, saving approximately 915 lives so far (Kaufman,Wiebe).

Deputy McGinty at John Hopkins agrees that everyone already knows that alcohol plays a tragic role in the number of motor vehicle crash fatalities each year and that interlock laws saves lives each year (Asia News Monitor). Unfortunately to be able to instal a ignition interlock device in every car it will come with a price. Although the cost will vary the estimate cost for the device is approximately $70 to $150 to instal and around $60 to $80 per month for device and monitoring calibration. Certain vehicles can result in a higher installation fee because of the time and difficulty involved. Usually the offender must pay all costs associated with the ignition interlock but there are programs that provide assistance for offenders who are struggling financially.

The price to install and maintain an ignition interlock device into every car is minimal compared to risking your life or someone else’s. It is a low cost and effective way to keep drinking drivers from offending. Paying for ignition interlocks seems more affordable than getting a DUI. The following charges that come with a DUI can vary depending on the state but usually come with legal/attorney fees, jail costs or bail, license restoration fee, an increase in car insurance, alcohol education or treatment classes. Getting a drunk driving offense can be an extremely expensive thing to endure compared to installing an ignition interlock. Keeping all of that in mind, the price per day for an ignition interlock device generally comes out to less than $3 a day. That is less than the cost of a single drink. It is clear than an IID is a cost- effective way to prevent drinking and driving.

As can be seen, drunk driving is not to be taken lightly. Driving a vehicle while impaired is a dangerous crime. It is time for people to do their part and start saving not only young lives but all lives on the road. Too many deaths and injuries have been occurring in the past few years. The next victim could be someone that individual knows. Tough enforcement of drunk driving laws has been a major factor in reducing alcohol impaired driving deaths since the 1980s. Charges range from misdemeanors to felony offenses, and penalties for impaired driving can include driver’s license revocation, fines, and jail time.

It’s also extremely expensive. People simply do not consider the legal punishment when making the decision to drive while intoxicated. Knowing that consequences can go so much further that an easy fine and even be as serious as death, however, may sway someone’s choice. Driving under the influence is not worth risking a person’s life. It is time to start taking responsibility and making better choices. Together we can make a decision. An individual can hand over their keys or their life, it is their choice. Make the right choice.

Updated: Nov 30, 2023
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Ignition Interlocks: Fighting Drunk Driving. (2021, Apr 24). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/drunk-driving-to-death-essay

Ignition Interlocks: Fighting Drunk Driving essay
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