NEW YORK: Study shows DWI offenders avoid the Ignition Interlock Law

Smart Start Ignition Interlock Device Attends AIIPA Conference

A state-based study published in August reveals a majority of DWI offenders in New York are avoiding the Ignition Interlock law. In other words, if an individual is required to use an Ignition Interlock from their court, they are not going to a service center and getting one installed.

90 to 100 percent of DWI offenders in 15 counties are not participating in the Ignition Interlock Device program. An astounding 77 percent of DWI offenders in Rensselaer and Schenectady Counties never installed their court-ordered Ignition Interlock. 68 percent in Saratoga County and 65 percent in Albany County also avoided installing the device.

How are so many people getting away with not using their Ignition Interlock?

According to a news station that interviewed Stop DWI Administrator of the Albany County program, Chief Deputy Kerry Thompson, many people are using a car under someone else’s name. In some cases, they use family member or friends’ vehicles to continue to drive. Anyone who knowingly allows someone to drive their car with a DWI conviction can be charged in New York.

Current New York Ignition Interlock law

Since 2010 under Leandra’s Law, all DWI offenders need to use an Ignition Interlock. New York is one out of 30 U.S. states and DC who implement an all-offender law. In addition, New York requires cameras with the devices, which helps individuals provide evidence of their sobriety, and answers the question of who truly took the test.

In Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)’s state-by-state report, Ignition Interlocks in New York prevented drunk drivers (with a BAC of .08 or above) from starting their vehicle 7,162 times from 2015 to 2016. All-offender Ignition Interlock laws have been proven in multiple studies to reduce recidivism in drunk drivers. All they need to do is use their device, which will keep New York’s roads safe.

So, what could be done to stop individuals from avoiding their Ignition Interlock requirement?

How to close the loophole

In the same news article, Thompson states that enforcement needs to be increased from the police departments. As a result, Albany County secured a grant this past summer to help pay for the enforcement, which will help lessen the high number of people not installing their devices. With the additional funds, there can be a heightened focus on closing this loophole.

“There’s an effort among law enforcement, the district attorney’s office, and the probation department in Albany County. We will continue to assure compliance is achieved with this mandate,” Thompson says.

With increased funding for stronger enforcement of the Ignition Interlock, New York will be able to see the true effectiveness of their all-offender Interlock law.

Need to use an Ignition Interlock? Smart Start is the state of New York’s go-to provider. To make an installation appointment, call today at (800) 831-3299 or fill out our online form.