Traffic safety advocates push harsh DUI law countrywide

States handle their DUI cases differently with regards to sentencing. Judges from state to state have the ability to look at drunk driving cases individually and create a sentence that they believe fits the crime. Creating a national DUI law would take away judges’ evaluation processes in DUI cases.

It’s no surprise that there are those in Maryland and throughout the country who take very passionate stances against drunk driving. Mothers Against Drunk Driving is an example of a group that, along with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, believes a national ignition interlock device law should be put in place.

An ignition interlock device is installed in a vehicle and prohibits a car from starting if it detects alcohol in the driver’s system. Depending on the state, courts might require that a person convicted of a DUI has the device put in his car for a certain length of time. In Maryland, that sentencing requirement is saved for those who are convicted of drunk driving who had relatively higher blood-alcohol content levels.

If the national safety groups have their way, Maryland, along with other states, would require that ignition interlock devices be installed in all convicted DUI offenders’ vehicles, even first-time offenders and those with lower BAC levels. They argue that the requirement would decrease the rate of repeat DUI offenses and also create safer roads.

Critics of the idea believe that the law would cost states a significant amount of money, and states might just be paying for false security. Repeat offenses might not take place during the six months or year when offenders are required to use the devices, but those same drivers might reoffend the year after.

What do you think of ignition interlock devices? Are they an effective tool to prevent drunk driving? Would it be appropriate to require a first-time offender to use one in his car?


USA Today: “Safety group seeks ignition interlocks for all DUI offenders,” Larry Copeland, Mar. 6, 2012

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