Nevada should require ignition interlocks for all DUI convictions

Two women drinking while driving a carIgnition interlock devices have shown to reduce the drunk driver recidivism rate by 67 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, Nevada still lacks legislation requiring use of these devices for all convicted DUI offenders. Mothers Against Drunk Driving names Nevada’s ignition interlock laws as some of the weakest in the nation and believes that passing a law mandating interlock device use for all DUI offenders may help to reduce the number of people who are driving under the influence of alcohol.

The facts

Drunk drivers took the lives of 10,322 people nationwide in 2012 and injured 345,000 more, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Approximately 82 of those deaths occurred in Nevada, representing 32 percent of all motor vehicle accident deaths statewide. Just as the DUI fatality rate in America increased from 2011 to 2012, Nevada’s DUI death rate also increased by a margin of 17 percent during that time period. This loss of life is completely preventable, and many states are taking action to protect innocent motorists on the road.

Interlock devices and DUI fatalities

Due to the proven effectiveness of ignition interlock devices in reducing the drunk driving recidivism rate, 22 states in the nation, as well as four counties in California, have implemented laws requiring all convicted DUI offenders to use interlock devices in their vehicles, according to MADD. Many of these states have seen a dramatic decrease in their DUI fatality rate as a result of mandatory interlock device legislation.

Since implementing a mandatory IID program for all DUI offenders in 2007, Arizona has seen a 46 percent decrease in DUI deaths. Oregon enacted similar legislation in 2011, and has since had a 42 percent decrease in their DUI fatality rate. Some believe that Nevada could see a similar decline in motor vehicle deaths involving drunk drivers by creating a stronger interlock device law.

Research performed by the CDC indicates that people who are arrested for a DUI for the first time have actually driven drunk an average of 80 times. Between 50 to 75 percent of convicted DUI offenders continue to drive on a suspended license, putting the lives of others at risk. Ignition interlock devices help to keep drunk drivers off of the roads by disabling their vehicles while they are intoxicated.

A DUI accident in Florida, which sent a woman to intensive care, may have been avoided if a mandatory IID law had been in place. The woman is currently in critical condition and paralyzed after being hit by a drunk driver, who had two prior DUI convictions within a four-year period.

Taking away a convicted drunk driver’s ability and opportunity to operate a vehicle may just save their life, as well as many other lives on Nevada roadways.