Are Ignition Interlock Devices a Viable Solution for DUI Charges? (Guest Post)

The ignition interlock devices (IID) industry has become a huge business and for good reason. After all, there is an average of 1.5 million people every year booked for drunk driving, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed.

In the US, it is illegal to drive a vehicle if you have a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. People have different tolerance levels but on average, an individual who weighs 200 pounds will need about four drinks to breach that level.

The DUI penalties will depend on which state you are arrested. For instance, Georgia and Arizona have one of the toughest laws on drunk driving. The first conviction will land you in jail for a minimum of 10 days.

There are some pros and cons of government farming out the manufacturing and retail of IIDs to private companies. But one thing is certain–it keeps the economy growing while helping keep away dangerous drivers off the road.

Benefits of the Ignition Interlock Device

The IID is actually a good compromise so you don’t lose your license after you are convicted of drunk driving. This is beneficial, especially if you are using your car for work or bring the kids to school.

Of course, it doesn’t mean that you can avoid being committed to the In terms of effectiveness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that it cuts down by as much as 70 percent the chances of the driver repeating the same offense.

If your lawyer is able to convince the judge to require an IID on the vehicle, it’s actually considered a win, a slap on the wrist so to speak. The alternative–your license suspended or revoked–is much worse.

The Accuracy of Ignition Interlock Devices is Still Suspect

While installing the device on the vehicle is a good psychological deterrent for the driver to avoid drinking before going behind the wheel, people may be surprised to know that the IID is not very accurate.

For instance, the device can give a false reading on cologne, gum, mouthwash, deicer, and other chemicals that contain alcohol. Another drawback is that it distracts the driver during a “random running retest.” The driver may need to pull over on the interstate or continue the breath sample even if the car is still running.

The IID will also falsely give a BAC reading, depending on the volume of cell in the blood (hematocrit). People have different hematocrit, ranging from 42 percent to 54 percent in men and from 38 percent to 46 percent in women.

Does the IID Help Achieve Sobriety?

The ignition interlock device is, at best, a stop-gap measure that will help the driver refrain from drinking alcohol. It can also serve both as a reminder and a motivation for the individual to remain sober, at least according to the CDC.

But if it were that simple, people with an alcohol abuse disorder won’t suffer a relapse anymore.

However, in the US, the average relapse rate is somewhere between 40 and 60 percent and the failure ratio is highest during the first year of finishing the rehab treatment program.You may enter the best alcohol rehab in the country, and still, it won’t be a guarantee that you won’t relapse.

However, addiction counselors believe that a relapse should not be considered as a failure because it’s a natural part of the recovery. Addiction treatment is a continuing process. But an individual won’t really attain sobriety unless he is ready–and that usually means that the deep-seated problems that are causing him to drink have been addressed.


Dale is a writer and researcher in the fields of addiction and mental health. After battling with addiction himself, Dale has decided to write about these topics to help reduce the stigma associated with both. Dale is also an avid sports fan, both watching and playing.

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