Should Interlock Ignition Devices Be Required for Drunk Drivers?

It’s common knowledge that drunk driving is the cause of countless accidents across Maryland, many of which result in serious injury. For the most part, the State of Maryland takes drunk driving offenses very seriously due to the danger it presents to everyone on the road. However, unlike many other states, Maryland does not require that those who have been convicted of a DUI offense install an interlock ignition device on their vehicle as a precondition to driving.

What Is an Interlock Ignition Device?

An Interlock Ignition Device (IID) is a small box affixed to a vehicle’s dashboard that measures the driver’s blood alcohol content and prevents the car from starting if the driver has even a trace amount of alcohol on his or her breath. In vehicles with IIDs, before starting the car the driver must blow into a tube that sends the driver’s breath into a box that measures the driver’s blood alcohol content. If the driver “passes” then the car starts normally. If the driver “fails” then the car will not start and that information is stored on the device for later extraction.

Do IIDs Have Any Affect on DUI Arrests and Accidents?

Most likely, the answer is yes. In fact, some suggest that requiring those drivers convicted of a DUI offense to install a IID on their vehicle decreases repeat DUI offenses by up to 65% because it actually prevents drivers from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. In addition, requiring an IID for DUI offenders does not cost the State anything because the driver is required to install and maintain the device at their own expense.

Drivers who do not want to pay for the device do not need to. However, they will generally not be allowed to operate a car legally without first installing an IID.

Maryland Does Not Require IIDs for DUI Offenders

Twenty states require interlock ignition devices be installed before a DUI offender can legally drive. However, despite the benefits to requiring IIDs for drunk drivers, Maryland and D.C. both do not require first-time DUI offenders to install an IID in their vehicle.

According to a report by, a growing group of activists have started a movement hoping to change Maryland’s laws regarding IIDs. The group hopes to require all drivers convicted of drunk driving to install an IID before operating a motor vehicle. Virginia passed a similar law in July of 2013.

Have You Been Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident?

The laws of Maryland protect the victims of drunk drivers by allowing victims to recover monetary damages from the drunk driver and potentially the driver’s insurance company. Doing so requires that the person bringing the suit prove that the drunk driver was negligent. Often, a victim can use the results from the breath alcohol test taken by the arresting officer to help prove their case. If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, you may be eligible for monetary compensation based on the other driver’s negligence.

Since 1996, the dedicated and passionate attorneys at Maryland personal injury firm Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have helped victims of drunk driving accidents receive compensation for the injuries they’ve sustained. To contact an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney and discuss the facts of your case, contact the firm online, or call 410-654-3600.

More Blog Posts:

U.S. Court of Appeals Affirms Judgment in Favor of Defendant in Maryland Contributory Negligence Case, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published December 18, 2013.

Maryland Appeals Court Affirms Exclusion of Testimony Regarding Defendant’s Conduct Following Car Accident, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published December 4, 2013.

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