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Ignition interlocks: do they help first-time and repeat offenders?

The development and use of interlock ignition devices has been going on for more than two decades. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says ignition interlock devices have in that time “become more accurate, reliable, available, and less costly to install and maintain.”

But for Colorado policymakers and state residents alike, the real question is whether or not the devices work. Do ignition interlocks help to lower the number of DUI offenses

In February 2014, the NHTSA released a report on the widely used devices and found that they help decrease the incidences of driving under the influence. The evidence indicates that the devices reduce recidivism (repeat offenses) among first-time offenders as well as among those with more than one DUI. The devices help alter the behavior of high-risk offenders – those who are arrested with a high BAC (blood alcohol content).

DUI offender surveys indicate that the majority of DUI/DWI offenders believe that interlocks are a fair result of their driving-and-driving offense and that the devices had helped reduce incidences of drunk driving. Offenders’ families likewise supported the installation of the devices, despite the inconvenience and costs involved.

It is noted in the NHTSA report that many offenders attempt to tamper with the devices in the first weeks after installation, sometimes meddling with the breath sample and sometimes trying to disconnect the interlock. However, most offenders soon realize that their tampering efforts are unsuccessful and that their efforts are recorded and can result in additional legal sanctions.

Those facing a DUI charge and possible ignition interlock device installation should speak with a Denver attorney about their available legal options.

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