Drunk driving continues to take a toll on lives in North Carolina. In 2013, the last year for which we have complete statistics, 372 people died in crashes in which a driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater. Many thousands more were injured. And while drunk driving is on the decline nationwide, too many people are still being endangered by this entirely preventable crime.
One answer to the problem of drunk driving has been the ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, which prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. The device is proven to keep drunk drivers off the roads. But how to you ensure an offender will install one? The Mt. Airy News has an idea.
If you are ordered to install an interlock in NC, your license will not be returned to you unless you do so. However, some people elect not to install the interlock and wait out their suspension. Others refuse the interlock and then drive anyway. These people are on the road unlicensed and uninsured – and often impaired as well.
That is why the Mt. Airy News suggests that the NCDOT confiscate the cars of DWI offenders and return them only when an interlock has been installed.
Impounding a vehicle is a costly process. Possibly the offender could be given a period of 2 weeks to install the device. If they do not, the vehicle is impounded and the interlock installed, with the offender paying all costs involved.
While nothing we know about can bring DUI rates down to zero, strong, well-enforced ignition interlock laws have been shown to reduce alcohol-related deaths dramatically. Comprehensive ignition laws and a system that ensures that the devices are installed will make North Carolina’s roads safer for all.