In our last post, we noted that Congress is currently considering bills that contain measures to funnel more money to states that make use of ignition interlock devices mandatory for those convicted of drunk driving.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have stepped up to support the measures, but debate has been raised as to whether the devices should mandated for all those convicted of DUI, or only offenders with high blood alcohol levels and repeat offenders. Hard-core drunk drivers are those who were arrested with a blood alcohol content of .15 percent or higher. Repeat offenders are those who've been arrested in the previous 10 years.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving supports using ignition interlock devices on all convicted drunk drivers. In support of the devices, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) offers studies showing that a Washington interlock law covering all people convicted of DUI reduced recidivism by 11-12 percent. The group is encouraging more states to adopt such mandates. At present 15 states have such a law.
The study has been dismissed, however, by the American Beverage Institute as being short-sighted. According to the group, recidivism rates go down in the six months or so the devices are left on an offender's vehicle, but then they rise back up.
The American Probation and Parole Association-which says judges should have discretion to require the devices-has contended that requiring the devices for all DWI offenders would be an "unnecessray and costly" response, requiring over $432 million per year to supervise offenders nationwide.
The debate is no small matter, given the number of individals who die every year as a result of drunk driving accidents.
Source: USA Today, "Safety group seeks ignition interlocks for all DUI offenders," Larry Copeland, March 6, 2012.
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