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Farrukh Ali

English 101
Drunk Driving Solution
Drunk driving has been a big problem in the United States that continues to take
thousands of deaths each year. Driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is one of
the most dangerous things a person can do that results in increased injuries and vehicular deaths
affecting drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Since alcohol alters an individual's vision, reaction
times, distance, and judgment of one's abilities, drunk drivers could make bad decisions, like
getting behind the wheel of a car and resulting in careless driving, speeding, driving off the road
and, too often, crashing. For many years, the law enforcement community has attempted to
detect impaired drivers through numerous innovative efforts and measures. One of the successful
ways the law enforcement community has come up with is sobriety checkpoints to decrease the
rates of accidents and to prevent impaired driving; however, another more effective and
innovative method used today is ignition interlock system requiring all convicted drunk drivers
to pass a test before driving and has resulted in reductions in repeat offenses.
The problem of drunk driving under the influence (DUI) is well known throughout
society, yet even with all of the strategies used to remove these drivers from U.S. highways, it
continues to cause needless and tragic loss of life each year. According to MADD, motor vehicle
crashes are the leading cause of fatal injury and the second leading cause of nonfatal injury in the
U.S. and young adults are particularly at risk for motor vehicle related injury (MADD). Driving
under the influence of alcohol is dominant risk factor for highway crashes and general drunk

driving prevention can be achieved with programs of frequent, highly visible checkpoints and
ignition interlocks (MADD).
Sobriety checkpoints is detection technique conducted by officers at certain locations and
times when probability of alcohol related accidents are highest. Sobriety checkpoints are police
stops, or checkpoints, where officers are set up on a roadway to randomly stop vehicles to check
for impaired drivers. The detection techniques are commonly targeted to specific areas and times
that studies have shown the probability of more drunk drivers under the influence of alcohol after
bars and restaurants close in the entertainment section of town, or over holiday weekends, such
as Memorial or Labor Day (Sobriety Checkpoints). Thus, sobriety checkpoints are done in a
fixed location at which police pull over vehicles according to a predetermined plan. If an officer
believes the driver may be under the influence of alcohol, the officer then does sobriety tests that
might result in a request for a breath test.
Sobriety checkpoints are a successful way to help stop drunk drivers and decrease road
accidents. Recent studies show that sobriety checkpoints can cut the death toll by 20 percent;
thus, sobriety checkpoints increase the chance of people getting arrested for drunk driving and as
more arrests are taking place, people are likely to be more cautious on the roads (MADD). These
checks would make drunk drivers think about it before they get on the road; thus, it is an
effective and safe way to stop drunk drivers from causing trouble on the roads. In addition, the
personal contact officers have with drivers increases the reliability of identifying drunken
drivers, as well as individuals driving with a suspended or revoked license due to an alcoholrelated conviction (Sobriety Checkpoints). For example, according to a study in
checkpointusa.org, 36,798 vehicles were stopped and of which officers demanded 995 drivers to

take a field sobriety test (FST); out of those FSTs only 219 resulted in arrest for driving under
the influence (Sobriety Checkpoints statistics speaks for themselves).
Policy makers must make the consequences of drunk driving immediate and effective.
Law enforcement efforts, like sobriety checkpoints and license suspension, are made to aware the
people and to let them know that if they drive drunk, they will be arrested and face consequences
(Ignition Interlocks). While police officers at sobriety checkpoints have reduced the number of
drunk driving and resulting fatalities and injuries, these efforts have not overcome the problem
and too many people still continue to drive while impaired. One of the most effective ways to
prevent a convicted drunk driver from reoffending is to make sure that he or she will not be able
to start his or her vehicle while drunk and that way is the ignition interlock device (Ignition
Interlocks).
Ignition Interlock is a method used in motor vehicles of convicted drivers to reduce the
repeat offenses. An ignition interlock is a device that is about the size of a cell phone and checks
the persons BAC to see if the individual has been drinking (Sober to start). The device is wired
into the ignition system of a vehicle and in order for the car to start the individual must blow into
the machine. The machine then evaluates the persons BAC and if that person has BAC level less
than 0.08, the car will start (Sober to Start). If they have BAC level of alcohol greater than 0.08
in their system, the vehicle will not start. In addition, offenders have to get the ignition interlock
device installed in their vehicles and have to pay the cost for interlocks monthly. On average,
interlocks are about $70-150 to install and about $60-80 per month for monitoring and
calibration (MADD).
Ignition interlock is one of the most effective ways the law enforcement community has
come up with. Since the implementation of this method in convicted drunk drivers vehicles,

there has been significant reduction in their repeat of offenses. For example according to the
Centers for Disease Control (CDC), interlocks are effective in saving lives and reducing drunk
driving repeat offenses by 67 percent (Support Ignition Interlocks for All Convicted Drunk
Drivers). In addition, this method gives driving privileges to drunk drivers whose driving
licenses are suspended; they would be allowed to drive with ignition interlock system installed in
their cars. Thus, it is more effective than license suspension because according to MADD, 50 to
75 percent of convicted drunk drivers still continue to drive on a suspended license (Support
Ignition Interlocks for All Convicted Drunk Drivers). Effectiveness of this method has been seen
in all the states where interlock laws were passed and there has been significant reduction in
repeat offenses of about two-thirds in these states, for example according to MADD, states such
as Oregon, Arizona, Louisiana and New Mexico have all seen their drunk driving deaths drop
by more than 30 percent after all-offender interlock laws were passed (Sober to Start).
Ignition interlock method is more effective than sobriety checkpoints. In sobriety
checkpoints, vehicles are stopped in a specific sequence such as every other vehicle or every
fourth, fifth or sixth vehicle and drunk drivers are less likely to be caught. Thus, checkpoints
typically catch only one or two often zero drunk drivers while these checkpoints are
inconvenience to hundreds of other responsible drivers (Barnett). However, in ignition interlock
system, convicted drunk drivers are under observation to reduce drunk drinking repeat offenses,
for example according to MADD, the average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before a
first arrest. In addition, not only do checkpoints yield fewer DUI arrests, they also are costly; it
requires a dozen or more officers, special equipment, and printed materials, checkpoints typically
costs taxpayers over $10,000 a pop (Barnett). However, in ignition interlock system, offender is

the one paying for installation of the device and he/she also pays monthly cost for monitoring
and calibration (MADD).
Drunk driving is a huge problem because every day someone is getting killed in accidents
due to drunk driving and this puts everyones life in danger, including drivers, passengers, and
pedestrians. It increases the risk of car accidents, resulting in injuries and vehicular deaths
affecting drivers, passengers, and pedestrians; it also has an adverse effect on people involved in
accidents such as depression (Smith). Thus, it is important to understand how dangerous this act
of drunk driving is and what steps should be taken to prevent it and to decrease the rates of fatal
accidents. Sobriety checkpoints is one of the effective ways that has been used to prevent and to
decrease drunk driving accidents; however, policy makers have come up with another methodignition interlock that has been proven to be more effective than sobriety checkpoints. The
studies conducted have shown that ignition interlock technique is the most effective and have
found to reduce repeat offenses significantly.

Works Cited:
Barnett, Galen. Sobriety Checkpoints Dont Work. Oregonlive.com. 9 April 2009. Web. 5 May
2015.
Ignition Interlocks. Madd.org. MADD. July 2014. Web. 2 May 2015.
MADD. Sobriety Checkpoints. Madd.org. N.p. May 2012. Web. 3 May 2015.
Sober to Start. Madd.org. MADD. 2015. Web. 3 May 2015.
Sobriety Checkpoints. AAA DUI Justice Link. N.p., N.d. Web. 2 May 2015.
Sobriety Checkpoints Statistics Speaks for themselves. Checkpointusa.org. N.p., 2007. Web 10
May 2015.
Smith, Shane. Depression- The side effect of a drunk driver causing your accident. Hg.orgLegal Resources. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2015.
Support Ignition Interlocks for All Convicted Drunk Drivers. MADD.org. N.p., N.d. Web. 8
May 2015.