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Are Ignition Interlocks Effective Tools for Accident Prevention?

Are Ignition Interlocks Effective Tools for Accident Prevention?

Are ignition interlocks effective tools for accident prevention? Will new regulations in Kansas make these devices more effective? Interlock devices are installed on the vehicles of DUI offenders. These devices are highly effective at preventing DUI recidivism. However, they are susceptible to "cheating" by drivers who skirt the restrictions on their driving by requesting others blow into the device on their behalf. To counter this, Kansas has recently enacted new regulations that require that all interlock devices be fitted with camera systems to verify that the offender is the only one who blows into the device.

Alcohol-Related Crashes in Kansas

In 2017, there were a total of 58,829 motor vehicle accidents in Kansas. Of these, 1,993 or 3.4%, involved alcohol. In total, there were 407 fatal collisions, and 81 or 19.9%, of these collisions involved alcohol. The data shows that while the total number of alcohol-related collisions is relatively small, their potential for causing fatalities is significantly higher than other causes of motor vehicle accidents. Similarly, of the 17,116 individuals who suffered personal injuries in collisions, a total of 1,023 or 6%, were injured in alcohol-related crashes.

As a result of the obvious risk drunk drivers pose to public safety, all DUI suspensions in Kansas require offenders to install ignition interlock devices for a period of time specified by the court. Offenders are required to bear the cost, which is roughly $75 for installation of the equipment, and $75 per month for monitoring and testing. While some view it as a costly punishment, there is no doubt that it is nowhere near as expensive as the personal injuries, property damage, and wrongful deaths a drunk driver can cause.

Regulatory Evolution Governing Interlock Devices in Kansas

Recent regulatory changes in Kansas now mean that all interlock devices installed on the automobiles of DUI offenders must have cameras attached to the system. This change is intended to help prevent "cheating" by drivers who attempt to have others blow into the device. It is currently unknown how often this occurs, but regulators believed it is sufficient enough to justify modifying the existing regulations.

The effectiveness of interlock devices is a hotly debated topic. Multiple studies have confirmed their ability to reduce DUI recidivism, but these studies vary widely on their results. On the high end, studies have shown that they can result in a 69% reduction, while on the low end, it is only 15%. One thing that was clear in these studies, is that the devices were only effective during the time period during which they were installed on the vehicle.

Contact Brad Pistotnik Law at 1-800-241-BRAD or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400. Our firm represents clients who are injured by drunk drivers in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, or Texas. When your efforts at accident prevention fail, our team aggressively pursues compensation from the drunk driver who caused your injuries. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can reach Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237.