It’s hard to believe, but Iowa is a more dangerous state than Florida where drunk driving is concerned. MADD knows it, the NHTSB knows it, and the state lawmakers are ready to do something about it. Considering national drunk driving fatality rates are up 14%, now is the time to act. One of the best ways to get a better hold on drunk driving is with a new law that requires Iowa ignition interlock devices for all OWI offenders.
Currently an Iowa ignition interlock device is only required for some OWI convictions.
We see a few standard ways that states hold drunk drivers accountable. In New Mexico, an offender’s vehicle can be impounded, and that state is looking at denying a convicted drunk driver the ability to purchase alcohol. That state also has an all-offender ignition interlock policy for drunk drivers, and has been a model state for the rest of the U.S. in the effectiveness of interlock programs. Other states, like Montana, have 24/7 sobriety monitoring programs that require offenders to submit a breath sample periodically through the day into a device that doesn’t prevent them from driving.
All states have interlock requirements, but the Iowa ignition interlock penalty could increase this year, along with a 24/7 sobriety monitoring program. Two new bills were just introduced to the state legislature to require interlocks for all OWI offenders, along with sobriety monitoring twice daily.
Ignition interlocks effectively prevent drunk driving incidents by disabling a vehicle if alcohol is detected. 24/7 sobriety monitoring cannot boast the same results. Iowa needs to increase the penalties for drunk driving so that the number of incidents can fall. Implementing the right policy for the crime is the key to solving that dilemma, but it is really just as simple as trusting the most reliable method of stopping drunk drivers in the act of driving drunk: ignition interlock devices.