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Palm Beach County DUI Lawyer: Do Ignition Interlock Devices Work?

Ignition interlock devices are frequently installed on the vehicles of DUI offenders, says Fort Lauderdale DUI Lawyer William Moore Criminal Defense. The devices contain a small breath test component, which requires the driver to breath into it before starting the car. Often, the driver must breathe into it a few minutes later as well, or even periodically the entire time the vehicle is being driven. This feature is designed to prevent a driver from drinking a lot of alcohol, then immediately getting behind the wheel before it has absorbed into the system. It is supposed to be a check to prevent a DUI offender from committing another offense, according to Fort Lauderdale DUI Lawyer William Moore. Proponents insist that the devices prevent DUIs from ever even occurring. Although the position makes sense intuitively, new information is surfacing that may demonstrate that the devices are surprisingly ineffective at preventing DUIs. The question remains, then: are ignition interlock devices actually effective at preventing second, third, or subsequent DUIs?

First, there are the typical problems associated with any breath test (breathalyzer) device. They may not completely compensate for the rate of absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. They can give false positives. Breathalyzers may incorrectly identify a foreign substance as alcohol, when it is something else entirely. Women or those with smaller lung capacities may appear to have a different concentration of alcohol in their breath than they really do, because the machines are calibrated for the lung capacity a “typical” person would have.

In addition to all of those problems that all breathalyzers have, there is new evidence to show that the ignition interlock devices do not prevent additional DUIs. In 2005, the California Department of Motor Vehicles made its report to the state legislature on the devices. Its findings showed that the expected result, which would be fewer subsequent DUI arrests for those who had the device installed, “was not observed.” In fact, the risk of a subsequent motor vehicle accident was 84 percent higher in those who had installed the device versus those who had not. The results “clearly show that IIDs are not effective in reducing DUI convictions” and that there is “no evidence” that the devices work.

Who is pushing for their continued use? Mothers Against Drunk Driving has long been a proponent of ignition interlocks. The companies the devices even lobby state legislatures – and their business incentive to do so is readily apparent.

Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney William Moore provides complete DUI defense advice in your area.

This article should be used for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice nor as implied representation of any person.

Article contributed by Mallory Shipman, Esq.

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