Will Minnesota revise the ignition interlock device laws?

Ignition interlock devices reduce the number of repeat drunk drivers on the road and help to decrease DUI accidents, injuries and deaths.

Although drivers face many dangers on a daily basis, drunk drivers are one of the deadliest forces on the road. In 2013, 10,076 people were killed by drunk drivers nationwide, and an additional 290,000 people were seriously injured, as reported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Minnesota alone had 95 drunk driving deaths that year, which accounted for nearly 25 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities. Many states have made an effort to reduce the number of lives lost to negligent drunk drivers by enacting legislation that requires all convicted DUI offenders to use ignition interlock devices on their vehicles. While Minnesota has a program offering the use of IIDs to first-time drunk driving offenders, the state does not require all drunk drivers to use these life-saving devices.

Curbing drunk drivers

Research shows that revoking DUI offenders' driver's licenses is simply not enough to keep them from operating a vehicle. In fact, MADD reported that up to 75 percent of convicted drunk motorists continue to drive with a suspended license. Ignition interlock devices keep drunk drivers off of the streets by disabling their vehicles while they are intoxicated. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, interlock devices containing cameras are installed in offenders' vehicles. In order to start the vehicle, offenders must blow into a tube attached to the device. The machine then determines their blood alcohol content level to see if they are able to drive.

When the driver's BAC level measures 0.02 percent or higher, the car will lock up. If the BAC reads below the set limit, the car will start and the driver will be prompted to submit periodic breath samples during the drive. Not only is the driver's picture taken every time a breath sample is submitted, but all information regarding lockouts and BAC levels is reported to the department.

Are IIDs effective at saving lives?

States that have laws requiring use of IIDs by all convicted DUI offenders have seen a significant drop in the DUI fatality rate. Arizona passed a similar IID law in 2007 and since that time, there has been a 45 percent reduction in the number of people killed by drunk drivers. Other states, including New Mexico, West Virginia, Louisiana and Oregon have seen the DUI fatality rate drop by more than 30 percent. Studies performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a 67 percent decrease in the drunk driving recidivism rate when IIDs are used.

Seeking legal assistance

If you have been seriously injured due to a drunk driver's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages from work and emotional trauma. You may want to consult with an attorney in Minnesota who will help you go over the details of your case as well as your legal options.

Keywords: ignition interlock device, drunk driving