The Truth About Ignition Interlock Devices
Here is an excerpt from a post by Lawrence Taylor that exposes the fallacies of relying on ignition interlock devices to combat driving while intoxicated:
For the past year now, MADD has trumpeted its latest solution to the drunk driving problem. After 13 years of essentially unchanged DUI-related fatality statistics (they have actually increased), MADD is now promising in its recent solicitations for money (average $52 million a year) that their latest weapon will “eliminate drunk driving once and for all”. And in recent press releases, MADD’s national president is promising that it will “literally wipe out drunk driving in the United States”.
Pretty grandiose claims. So what is this new miracle weapon? The ignition interlock device, or “IID”.
Problem #1: They don’t work. See my guest editorial in Business Week, MADD Announces an End to Drunk Driving: A Reply. They are, however, very profitable (see my earlier post Ignition Interlock Devices: Dangerous but Profitable). If you review MADD’s Annual Report, you will find a list of their top contributors – those ”Platinum Corporate Donors” who have paid MADD at least $100,000. There are six: Dial America Marketing, Nationwide Mutual Insurance, Nissan North America, Daimler Chrysler Corporation, Car Max Foundation and General Motors Corporation (makers of Saab). Yes, three car manufacturers…and a telemarketer heavily used by MADD.
Problem #2: What about drivers who haven’t been arrested before? How do you “literally wipe out drunk driving” by installing IIDs only in cars operated by drivers who have already been convicted? Most drivers arrested for DUI are first offenders.
MADD understands this, and is pushing further — to have all vehicles mandatorily equipped with IIDs. (Now you understand why the car manufacturers are investing heavily in MADD.)
To more clearly understand the nightmare of driving with an IID-controlled vehicle, see this Japanese TV news broadcast on YouTube (and imagine all that can go wrong). Now also consider the $1500 or so added to the car’s sticker price, along with the periodic required calibration, maintenance and repairs.