Ignition Interlock Devices May Be Key to Preventing Impaired Driving

April is Alcohol Awareness Month and AAA is highlighting ignition interlock devices in an effort to reduce repeat drunk driving offenders. 

Requiring all drunk driving offenders to install alcohol ignition interlock devices (IID) can reduce the number of impaired drivers in fatal crashes by 16 percent, according to a new study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Additionally, if every state adopted IID laws, more than 500 more lives could be saved each year. Today, 31 states and the District of Columbia mandate or highly incentivize ignition interlock devices for all offenders – 28 of those states and DC have all-offender IID laws.

“AAA applauds IIHS for highlighting the important role ignition interlock laws play in reducing the number of crashes, injuries and deaths that occur on our nation’s roadways,” said AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety President Tiffany Wright.

Currently, North Carolina enforces IID penalties in certain DUI cases. First time offenders with a BAC of 0.15 or more mandates an ignition interlock restriction for one year. Additionally, second time offenders automatically receive a 3 year ignition interlock restriction while third time offenders require a 7 year interlock restriction (if the license is restored to the offender).

In South Carolina, courts are required to order the installation and monitoring of an interlock device for any driver whose BAC level is .08% or higher when it is a second time offense. The length of time required depends upon the court, but usually a second time DUI results in a two year requirement, the third garners three years and the fourth results in an ignition interlock permanently.

In 2016, there were 375 fatal crashes as a direct result of alcohol in North Carolina, according to the NCDOT and 296 in South Carolina, according to the SCPDS.

Neither of the Carolinas are included in the 28 states with an all-offender IID law, that would immediately require an ignition interlock system for any driver convicted of a DUI.

For the full report, including IIHS’s research on marijuana impaired driving, click here.

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