Wisconsin Stops Most Drunk Drivers with Ignition Interlocks

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on March 31, 2017 in Car Accidents
Updated on February 24, 2022

man using ignition interlockAs the use of ignition interlocks increases throughout the U.S., Wisconsin led the nation in 2016 as the state with the most intoxicated drivers prevented from operating a vehicle because of the device.

Ignition interlocks stopped 37,299 drivers in Wisconsin from starting their vehicles after detecting a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Impaired driving is one of the leading causes of traffic fatalities in the U.S. A local car accident attorney in Wisconsin can help you seek justice and compensation for the aftermath caused by a drunk driving collision.

Ignition Interlock Devices Stop Drunk Drivers

The use of ignition interlock devices has become more prevalent in the penalties for drunk driving convictions throughout the U.S.

An ignition interlock is a device that measures a driver’s BAC through his or her breath. The device requires the driver to blow into it and prevents the vehicle from starting if it registers a BAC over the device’s pre-set limit.

MADD recently created an ignition interlock report using data it obtained from 11 manufacturers of the device detailing a 10-year period starting in 2006.

Approximately 1.77 million impaired drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher were prevented from starting their vehicles by ignition interlock devices during the decade of data used in the study, according to the MADD report.

One year later, MADD discovered that the device stopped another 350,000 impaired drivers from December 2015 to December 2016, bringing the total number of blocked attempts to 2.3 million since 2006.

MADD’s Ignition Interlock Initiative

Every state in the U.S. has some form of an ignition interlock law. Currently, 28 states and the District of Columbia require ignition interlocks for first-time offenders with a .08 BAC and above.

Wisconsin’s ignition interlock law states that individuals with multiple drunk driving convictions and first-time offenders with a BAC of 0.15 or more are required to install the device in their vehicle.

One of the primary goals of MADD is to have every state require OWI offenders to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles, including a minimum six month period for first-time offenders.

MADD suggests that ignition interlock devices reduce the chances of a repeat drunk driving offense and serve as a more effective penalty than a license suspension.

A suspended license also does not effectively prevent a drunk driving offender from driving, as 50 to 75 percent still continue to drive without a valid license, according to MADD.

MADD believes that ignition interlocks would provide offenders with a second chance and allow them to continue with their life while preventing any further impaired driving.

Drunk Driving in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has reported more than 4,000 alcohol-related crashes every year since 2012.

In 2016, AAA conducted a Wisconsin drunk driving survey that revealed more than 40 percent of the state’s drivers have operated a vehicle within a short time after consuming multiple drinks.

Nearly one in five Wisconsin residents between the ages of 21 and 34 also admitted to driving directly after consuming alcohol.

In response to the number of drunk driving arrests and repeat offenders in the state, Wisconsin lawmakers increased the penalties for repeat impaired driving offenders at the start of 2017.

Under Wisconsin’s revised OWI statutes, a fourth conviction is now considered a felony and any subsequent OWI convictions will face a prison sentence.

Offenders convicted of five OWI’s will receive a five-year sentence and anyone convicted 10 times or more will now face a sentence of seven and a half to 10 years.

Legal Help for those Impacted by Drunk Driving Accidents

Drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol present a danger to all motorists and pedestrians sharing the road.

If you have been injured or lost someone you love in an auto collision caused by a drunk driver, you may have legal options.

Contact the Milwaukee auto accident attorneys at PKSD for experienced legal help if you are dealing with the aftermath of a serious collision.

Our injury attorneys in Milwaukee WI always provide prospective clients with a free consultation and will not charge you for any fees if you retain our services. We only require payment if we help you recover damages in your claim.

Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form if you were injured in a car accident.

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