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Michigan Ignition Interlock Program Reduces DUI Recidivism

ignitioninterlockpreventdrunkdriving.jpgIf you receive a High BAC (0.17 % or higher blood alcohol content) conviction or multiple DUI convictions in Michigan, you will be required to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) in your motor vehicle (assuming your driving privileges are restored). 

Typically, installation of the device is also accompanied by mandatory driving restrictions (i.e., to and from school or work). Ignition interlock devices are used to monitor levels of alcohol impairment of drivers. A driver is required to blow into the device periodically while driving. The ignition interlock system not only documents a driver's blood alcohol content but some devices take pictures of drivers taking the breath test in order to verify identity and eliminate fraud. If the device detects breath alcohol, an alarm will sound until the vehicle is turned off (or the vehicle will not start at all) and a violation is recorded.

A recent study has found that DUI recidivism amongst ignition interlock users has decreased over the past 3 years. The study stated that participants of alcohol interlock programs were three times less likely to drive under the influence of alcohol within three years of their initial conviction. Here are some key statistics regarding the study:

  • With respect to overall program success in the Interlock Program group, 414 clients successfully graduated from DWI/Sobriety Court by the end of 2014: 55 failed (a failure rate of 11.7%). By way of contrast, in the DWI/Sobriety Court comparison group (absent of ignition interlocks), 137 out of 404 clients did not successfully complete their programs (a failure rate of 33.9%).

  • Interlock Program Participants have the lowest recidivism rates for operating under the influence of alcohol one, two and three years after the initial conviction for a repeat DWI charge in comparison to the non-interlock offenders in DWI/Sobriety Court and Standard Probationers. The results are statistically significant (p < .05) at the two-year mark.

Michigan lawmakers have welcomed the results of the study as they look into passing different measures to reduce drunk driving occurrences:

"We are saving lives, we are saving money and there are numerous people statewide benefiting from these programs," Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young Jr. said Thursday in Lansing.

Of course, many critics of the devices claim that recidivism is only reduced during the period of time the device is installed in the motor vehicle.

If you or a loved one has recently been charged with drunk driving in the Washtenaw County area contact my law office for a consultation. I can review your case and see if you potentially qualify to participate in an alcohol treatment program and avoid jail time. Call 734-274-6567 for a free phone consultation.


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