Can Interlock Devices Help Prevent Recidivism?
Ignition interlock devices have now been introduced in dozens of states as a requirement for repeat and even first-time offenders. Public safety advocates, non-profit organizations and elected leaders have been behind the push for more devices, but are their hearts in the right place? The research says “yes”.
There is now a large library of studies available that support the idea that interlock devices prevent drunk driving accidents. There is also data that suggests that the installation of these devices can prevent those charged with DUIs from offending again.
The likeliness to be charged with a second offense after being convicted a first time is known as recidivism. The data shows that these devices have a strong effect on recidivism by leaving a strong impression on those who have had to deal with having these devices in their cars.
This is backed up by the fact that they have reduced second offenses in multiple states and that they prevent new offenses at the source.
They have Reduced Recidivism in Multiple State Studies
Several states have performed long-term studies with ignition interlock devices.
Maryland was one of the first states to experiment with these devices. After they implemented the program, they found that those who participated and placed a device in their cars had only a 1.6% chance of having another DWI offense. For those who didn’t participate, the rate was 6.4%
A more recent study (2005) in New Mexico found that those who did not install the devices in their cars after an offense were more than twice as likely to offend again.
Even more recently (2016) West Virginia began to require that all first-time offenders put the devices in their cars for as long as a year. In that state, the recidivism rate among drunk drivers dropped by 77%.
They Stop Recidivism at the Source
What prevents DUI offenders from being charged again is not difficult to understand. It’s not just the memories of the inconvenience of the device that stops people from driving drunk. Research has shown that many follow-up offenses are stopped by the devices themselves.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving reported in 2019—using data provided from 11 device manufacturers—that ignition interlock devices prevented more than 3 million instances of drunk driving from happening since 2006.
Without the device in place, any one of those drivers could have been arrested while driving intoxicated or been involved in a drunk driving incident that resulted in injury or death. There are penalties to failing the tests, but those penalties don’t include fresh criminal charges.
Choosing Interlock Devices to Prevent Recidivism
If you don’t live in a state that mandates the use of these devices, you can still choose to install them yourself to lower the risk of being charged with a second offense. By searching for “interlock devices near me”, you can find manufacturers and service centers that may be willing to assist you.
Getting this help could save your life and keep your record clean.