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An Intro to Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program

| Mar 23, 2021 | DUI/DWI |

If you have been stopped for drinking and driving, one of the things you may have learned is that those who are convicted may have to use an ignition interlock device. This device, also abbreviated IID, is used to test a driver’s blood alcohol concentration before they drive. Then, it randomly tests them while the vehicle is in motion. This helps prevent fraud and assists in preventing impaired drivers from being on the road.

In 2019, over a quarter of all fatal crashes in Maryland involved a drunk driver, so ignition interlock devices are commonly used to respond to that issue. Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program focuses on the fact that drivers with an IID installed into their vehicle are up to 75% less likely to reoffend.

How does the Ignition Interlock Device Program work?

If a driver is told that they will have their license suspended as a result of driving while drunk or impaired, then they may have the option of opting in to the Ignition Interlock Program. This program, called IIP in short, can be used in place of a license suspension.

With the IIP installed, drivers cannot start their vehicles if they are impaired. Once the vehicle is in motion, the device cannot stop the vehicle. However, it can report if the driver blows over the limit. The device will log the event, and it will then tell the driver to stop the vehicle and turn it off. Depending on the specific device, other actions may occur, like setting off the horn, if the vehicle isn’t turned off soon enough.

The results of the program show that it works

The program works in two ways. First, it helps keep dangerous drivers off the road. Second, it allows people to keep their licenses, so they can still drive despite any mistakes they made in the past.

In Fiscal Year 2020, Maryland reported that over 3,800 attempts to start a vehicle while impaired at .08% or higher were prevented. That also means that up to 3,800 potential instances of drunk driving arrests were prevented, and many were saved the potential hardships that come with them.