Ignition Interlocks Stop Over A Million Drunk Drivers


The major substance use news these days deals primarily with the opioid epidemic in America; we need to remember that there are plenty of other addictive mind altering substances that can wreak havoc on one’s life. Alcohol remains to be the most commonly used drug in America, alcohol is pervasive and deeply rooted in our society. It’s a substance that takes an enormous toll on both the public health and the economy; it’s responsible for thousands of deaths every year from alcohol related illness and driving under the influence (DUI).

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 44 people die of an overdose every day, a staggering figure to be sure, the agency also reports that in the United States almost 30 people die in motor vehicle crashes that involve alcohol-impaired drivers. Despite the fact that even teenagers are aware that driving under the influence is unsafe, people continue to put their lives and the lives of others in their hands in danger, which often times ends in tragedy.

Over the last decade there have been a number of efforts made to mitigate both the effects and the likelihood of drunk driving. Those who are caught drunk driving face heavy financial penalties, possible jail time, and loss of license for varying lengths of time. What’s more, in many states those convicted of DUIs are required to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicle. The instruments keep the car from starting unless the driver blows into a breathalyzer; if alcohol is detected the device will prevent the car from starting and the driver will have to go back to court and may be sent to jail.

A new report highlights the success of requiring interlocks, showing that the devices have stopped more than 1.77 million people from attempting to drive drunk since 1999, the Associated Press reports. The findings come from data released by 11 major ignition interlock manufacturers.

“MADD knows ignition interlocks save lives, and they could save even more lives if every offender is required to use the device after the first arrest,” said Colleen Sheehey-Church, the president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. 

Currently, twenty-five states require ignition interlocks for any drunk driving offense, even for a first-time DUI, according to the article. All 50 states have passed some kind of ignition interlock law, but some are much stricter than others and MADD would like to see the states with softer laws, toughen up.

It is often the case that people convicted of DUIs are required to attend 12-step recovery meetings. That is not to say that everyone who gets a DUI has an alcohol use disorder, and most of those who are required to go to meetings do so begrudgingly; however, there are some who are required to attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous that realize that they do have a problem with alcohol and are willing to give recovery a chance. While getting a DUI is never fun, it can be the catalyst that leads to recovery.

Effective Policies to Combat Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is a serious problem in the United States, especially among young adults who are unaware of their limits. All 50 states have policies in place to deter drunk driving, such as DUI checkpoints on major holidays and stiff penalties – including jail time and harsh fines. While those measures are effective, new research suggests that policies designed to deter binge-drinking are equally effective, ScienceDaily reports. States that have implemented stricter alcohol policies have lower rates of self-reported drunk driving.

Researchers at the Boston University schools of public health and medicine and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health assigned each state an “alcohol policy score.” States that were found to have higher scores had a decreased likelihood of impaired driving. The states were scored using 29 different alcohol policies, such as alcohol taxation.

“Basically, our study supports two parallel mechanisms involved in addressing drunk driving: Drinking policies reduce the likelihood of getting drunk, and driving policies prevent drunk folks from getting behind the wheel,” said study lead author Ziming Xuan, ScD, an assistant professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health.

The research showed that high alcohol taxes, safe serving laws, and retail sales restrictions were effective measures to combat drunk driving, according to the article. Despite stricter penalties and excessive drinking deterrents, for the last two decades the rate of drunk driving related accidents has stayed about the same – around 33 percent.

“It is clear that in order for states to comprehensively address drunk driving as a public health issue, more effective policies need to be put into place to address excessive alcohol consumption,” Xuan said.

The findings were published in the International Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research. __________________________________________________

If you are currently struggling with an alcohol use disorder and are in need of help, please do not hesitate to contact Harmony Foundation to begin the journey of recovery. Harmony is a state-of-the-art, affordable, residential addiction treatment program located in the Rocky Mountains.

Addiction and recovery news provided by Harmony Foundation.

Alcohol and Regret: CO Woman Arrested 3 Times in 1 Week for DUI

We all know that alcohol lowers inhibitions. Young adults and college students are often warned of this when they become of legal drinking age. They are urged to drink responsibly so they don’t engage in irresponsible behaviors. 

Despite warnings, many have experiences where their inhibitions were lowered and they are filled with regret and/or shame. A regrettable night of drinking doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem with alcohol. However several regrettable experiences may point to a problem.

This is often referred to as the “built in forgetter” – when someone is faced with the decision to drink or have another drink they forget their previous regrettable experiences that resulted from drinking, With the problem drinker, this happens over and over. This was certainly the case with a Colorado woman who was arrested three times last week for drunk driving.

The 40-year-old mother, Kimberly Micheloni, was arrested on May 13th, 14th and 20th for drunk driving and is currently being held at the Douglass County Detention Center on 225K bail. She remorsefully stated “I am so sorry and if I hurt anyone it was wrong, it was just wrong.”

However, she also blamed it on medication, saying her reckless decision making may have been because she was on prescription medication at the time of her arrests. In addition to the DUI charges, she is being charged for child abuse because a child was in her car at the time of her first arrest. Why she wasn’t put in jail during the first or second arrest is still in question.

For those that have negative experiences as a result of drinking, there is usually one major experience that pushes them to seek addiction treatment. This is often referred to as their “bottom.” Thankfully Micheloni didn’t hurt anyone while driving under the influence, and hopefully the three arrests will be her bottom.

Here is an interview with her at the Douglass County Detention Center ….

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