Do Steering Wheel Monitors Prevent DUIs?

by: Mike Miller

I will state point blank that I am strongly in favor of breath monitors on steering wheels for people who have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). There is strong debate around the country and up on Capitol Hill regarding this technology and how and when it should be used.

I cannot understand why. There are some people that think DUIs should be compared alongside “attempted murder.” Indeed, some DUI offenders who happen to kill someone due to their DUI behavior are convicted of manslaughter.

One of the issues is whether the technology should be mandated after just one DUI conviction. What do you think?

At present, according to Politico, 16 states have this sort of “all-offender” mandate for ignition interlocks on their books, and an additional 22 states require them for repeat offenders or those whose blood-alcohol content was especially high. These programs generally require an offender to install an ignition interlock in order to avoid a complete driver’s license suspension for a period of time.

According to research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the all-offender mandate seems to be making a difference. The study examined drivers in Washington state — one of the states that has an ignition interlock mandate for first-time offenders — and concluded that recidivism fell by 12 percent among first-timers who installed an interlock.

In New Mexico — the first state to mandate an ignition interlock — expanding the mandate to include first-time offenders reduced DUI-related fatalities by 35 percent over four years.

I certainly feel this technology should be used as often as possible. There are rumors of making it so affordable that it will become the norm for all cars – kind of like the third “pod light” on the back of automobiles.