Ignition interlocks up for consideration in Vermont

Vermont lawmakers are considering adding mandatory ignition interlocks to the possible punishments for individuals convicted of DUI. The Burlington Free Press reported today that the legislature would be studying the use of the devices in other states and may consider legislation in the next session, which begins in early 2009.  This discussion comes in response to the tragic death of 18 year-old Nick Fournier who was killed when a thrice convicted drunk driver slammed into his vehicle.  The man responsible for the accident is 33 and had consumed eight or nine beers at a nearby bar before getting in his brother’s car and driving the wrong way down the interstate.

In this case, the use of an ignition interlock may have saved a life.  If the convicted drunk driver had had an ignition interlock in his vehicle, he would have been unable to even start it that night. The devices work simply and effectively by blocking the ignition if the driver’s BAC is over an established limit.   While most states make use of ignition interlocks in DUI sentencing, only a few require it for first time DUI offenders.  In their Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, MADD strongly supports state-level legislation that would make installation of ignition interlocks mandatory for all DUI convictions.

Choose Responsibility strongly supports ignition interlocks.  Research has shown that drunk drivers are 60 percent less likely to reoffend if they have been ordered to install an interlock as part of their sentence, and also that 65 percent of the public supports interlocks for first time offenders.  That proportion jumps to 85 percent when considering repeat offenders. Unlike Legal Age 21, ignition interlocks present a specific and tailored solution to dealing with the scourge of drunken driving.  

4 Responses to “Ignition interlocks up for consideration in Vermont”

  1. Rebecca Says:

    I am all for mandatory installation of these for repeat DUI offenders, but there will be some people who won’t be able to drive at all. My local mechanic who installs these daily, told me these ignition interlocks are extremely expensive to have installed in your car in the first place [thousands of dollars], and weekly upkeep and monitoring roughly costs the driver $150/week.

  2. Aaron Says:

    What a shame, we might have a situation that’s extremely inconvenient for the actual perpetrators of drunk driving, rather than an entire age group.

    The only problem I can forsee with this is the American “all or nothing” nonsense we see in all these laws (including the current legal age). I’m sure we would start seeing people who had one drink with dinner, or some cough syrup, etc., end up with an ignition interlock.

  3. Jennifer Says:

    Here is a PSA Montana just released for drinking and driving but it also incorporates not wearing a seat-belt.
    Sad stuff.

  4. Choose Responsibility Blog » Blog Archive » States Consider Tougher DUI Laws Says:

    […] are specific tools that lawmakers can use to stop repeat offenders – read more about them here. Texas and Ohio are targeting the right group with these new laws – drunk drivers, and not young […]