Study Results Suggest Wider Use Of Ignition Interlock Devices

While drunk driving laws vary by state, various state legislatures are influenced by larger nationwide trends and laws/programs that prove to be effective elsewhere. One of the clearest and strongest trends in DUI legislation in the last decade has been increased use of ignition interlock devices.

All 50 states now have IID laws and policies in place. Some states have made them mandatory even for first-time DUI offenders. Although Nevada’s IID laws give judges considerable discretion to decide appropriate use of these devices in individual cases, it may not always stay this way.

A growing body of research continues to show that the use of ignition interlock devices reduces recidivism (re-offense) rates. One recently published study, conducted in Michigan between 2011 and 2014, compared the effectiveness of interlock programs with the more traditional license revocation.

Convicted offenders who participated in an IID program showed the lowest recidivism rates and the highest rates of program compliance. According to the study, IID users were three times less likely (within three years of initial conviction) to commit another driving offense related to alcohol.

There are definitely some drawbacks to using an interlock ignition device. The first is the financial cost, which is often the offender’s responsibility. In addition to installation fees, users must pay monthly fees for maintenance, service and calibration.

Other drawbacks include social stigma and embarrassment. IIDS require drivers to blow into a breathalyzer device before beginning their drive and will randomly require retests throughout the drive. These breathalyzer tests are conspicuous, and a source of embarrassment for individuals who must participate in them.

That being said, IIDs may be less expensive than the fines associated with repeat offenses and less embarrassing than losing your license altogether, which often also jeopardizes your job. Therefore, using an IID is considered a reasonable trade-off by many convicted DUI offenders.

Ignition interlock devices may someday become mandatory for all DUI offenders in Nevada. And some believe that less intrusive IIDS could someday become standard-issue equipment in all new cars. Until or unless these things happen, anyone facing a Nevada DUI may have legal options that could include or exclude the use of an IID. In order to learn about and exercise those options, please discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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