There are many hurdles to get over when it comes to sentencing a convicted drunk driver. That’s because many penalties that are doled out will not prevent repeat behavior. First time offenders often get off with a slap on the wrist, and then end up back in the courtroom for their second offense. But with the help of ignition interlock systems, first offenders and repeat offenders can literally be prevented from drinking and driving again, simply because their car will not work thanks to these devices. This guarantee increases safety on the streets. Remember, many DUI offenders WILL drive with a suspended license, and many will drive drunk.
There are misconceptions about ignition interlock systems. But these devices are reliable even in extreme weather, high pressure and changes in altitude. The success of ignition interlock systems comes from the electrochemical sensor that is used in most of the devices. It requires less servicing than other models, and it is specifically made to detect alcohol (as compared to a semiconductor ignition interlock which requires more service and is not specific to alcohol detection). The NHTSA guidelines are the technical standard for ignition interlock systems. In the U.S., most states have a certification process for these devices as well. The features that each interlock system has are programmed by the manufacturer and meet the requirements of the particular jurisdiction.
Ignition interlock devices solve a myriad of problems. Take cost for example. Sentencing a drunk driving offender to install an ignition interlock system in his or her car will significantly reduce the cost of DUI cases. It will also save taxpayer money in a number of ways. Plus, the cost of the device itself is completely paid for by the drunk driving offender, not the courts or the taxpayers.
Not only will costs go down for the courts, but time spent on DUI cases will be reduced thanks to ignition interlock devices. Using these devices as a sentence means less paperwork for the courts. It also will require that judges and attorneys spend less time in court. Probation officers will also benefit, as there will be less paperwork and time spent on each offender as well.
Because of the use of ignition interlock devices, there will be less of a need for police officers and DUI checkpoints. Plus, there will be less DUI offenders since they literally cannot start their car if they have had a drink. This will save time, energy and manpower.
Monitoring DUI offenders becomes much more simple with the use of ignition interlock systems. Reports are sent directly to the person monitoring the offender, be it a probation officer or a judge. Plus, reports are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is important to note that monitoring is the key to a successful ignition interlock program, otherwise DUI offenders can slip through the cracks. The agencies that must be involved in the monitoring of these programs are sanctioning agencies, licensing officials, police officers and treatment professionals.