Iowa is taking steps in the right direction to eliminate drunk driving

March 02, 2017

DES MOINES, IA

In response to recent criticism of Iowa House Study Bill 109, Intoxalock applauds Iowa legislature on taking necessary steps to strengthen drunk driving laws in the state. House Study Bill 109 states that anybody arrested for any alcohol-related offense may be required to participate in a multi-layered drunk driving prevention program including twice-a-day alcohol testing and ignition interlock devices.

In addition to House Study Bill 109, Intoxalock, a major ignition interlock provider, recommends implementing two additional requirements to maximize the effectiveness of eliminating drunk driving in Iowa: 1) mandatory ignition interlocks devices for all offenders and 2) immediate installation of interlocks following a drunk driving conviction.

"Ignition interlock devices must be required for all drunk driving offenders," said Brad Fralick, Director of Government Relations for Intoxalock. "Currently, in Iowa, interlocks are only required for consecutive offenders and first offenders who register a breath alcohol concentration of .10 or above. By requiring immediate installation of an ignition interlock for first-time offenders and dropping this limit to .08, Iowa will pull even more drunk drivers off the roads, including many habitual offenders that 'slip through the cracks' with the current laws."

Additionally, as an organization, Intoxalock would like to see Iowa eliminate its hard suspension period (hard times). "Too many tragic accidents happen because of Iowa's current 'catch and release' model. By requiring immediate installation of an ignition interlock device, roads will be safer and lives will be saved," said Fralick.

"Iowa is taking the steps needed to strengthen drunk driving laws and it's critical that they begin to require the immediate installation of ignition interlock devices for all drunk driving offenders.

Please share this with influential members of your community. Together, we can make our roads safer against drunk drivers," Fralick continued.

Interlocks are critical for drunk driving prevention
After more than 20 years on the market, Fralick contends the added security of an ignition interlock device is always crucial in preventing repeat drunk driving occurrences. "Because of the ineffectiveness of license suspensions, interlocks should be mandatory whether the convicted drunk driver opts to drive or not. An ignition interlock device is the only measure that can prevent a vehicle from being started by somebody under the influence of alcohol," he said.

For example, with the advanced technology provided by Intoxalock's eLERT 24, it's possible to incorporate mandatory daily testing with an existing ignition interlock device. Offenders would be required to submit breath tests into their ignition interlock device at customizable time intervals and at the same time, would still need to prove sobriety in order to start their vehicle.

Another tool, twice-a-day alcohol testing, commonly referred to as a 24/7 Sobriety Program, requires drunk driving offenders to submit alcohol tests two times each day at a local police station following a drunk driving conviction. When paired with an ignition interlock device, it can also add value to any program.

Ignition interlock devices save lives
Ignition interlock devices are the only effective way to prevent somebody from starting their vehicle after they've consumed alcohol. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving's (MADD) 2016 Ignition Interlock Report, ignition interlock devices have stopped over 1.77 million vehicles from being started by somebody that was legally intoxicated.

"No other program can physically stop a would-be drunken driver from getting behind the wheel and threatening anyone in his or her path," said Frank Harris, MADD's Director of State Government Affairs.

Furthermore, states that implement laws requiring ignition interlock devices for all drunk driving offenders see a dramatic reduction in the number of alcohol-related deaths that occur. In Arizona, for instance, drunk driving fatalities have dropped by 50 percent since passing their all-offender ignition interlock law in 2007. (MADD)

About Intoxalock
Headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, Intoxalock (http://www.Intoxalock.com) developed its state-of-the-art ignition interlock device in conjunction with researchers from Iowa State University. Recently celebrating their 23rd anniversary in the alcohol monitoring business, Intoxalock currently services clients that are legally required to install an IID or home alcohol-monitoring unit in 41 states across the nation, in addition to voluntary clients in all other states. In the last 10 years, the ignition interlock industry has grown three-fold and is expected to continue as drunk driving legislation strengthens.