Ignition Interlocks and Other Administrative Sanctions

Alcohol ignition interlocks are a proven tool to effectively monitor impaired driving offenders and reduce recidivism. Today, almost all U.S. jurisdictions have implemented an alcohol interlock law targeting repeat and even high-BAC offenders. More recently, at least 12 jurisdictions have moved to also include some or all first-time offenders in alcohol interlock legislation and several others are considering such laws. The reports below are recent studies that describe effective interlock programs and provide empirical evidence to support that interlock devices can be a valuable tool for the criminal justice system. Additionally, there are a number of studies that evaluate the effectiveness of administrative license suspensions and other vehicle actions to reduce impaired driving.  These studies are located below as well.

Evaluation of State Ignition Interlock Programs:Interlock Use Analyses From 28 States, 2006–2011, CDC & NHTSA, (May 2015). In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and NHTSA began collaborating on a project to evaluate ignition interlock programs in selected States. The purpose of the evaluation was to provide information and best practices to states for ignition interlock programs. The project was managed by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association and conducted by the Preusser Research Group. Research was conducted to determine the following: how states can increase interlock use among DWI offenders who are required or eligible to install one, which changes in ignition interlock programs led to increases in ignition interlock use, key features of ignition interlock programs, and which key program features were related to higher ignition interlock use rates.

Ignition Interlock: An Investigation Into Rural Arizona Judges' Perceptions, NHTSA & NCSC, (May 2014). This study sought to answer several questions regarding 2007 Arizona legislation requiring ignition interlock for all offenders convicted of Driving-Under-the-Influence (DUI), including first time DUI offenders. At the time the law was passed, Arizona was only one of two States (New Mexico being the other) to require ignition interlock for first time offenders. Of particular focus in the study were the implications of the legislation for rural areas. The project staff obtained information from judges in rural Arizona jurisdictions that routinely hear DUI cases to obtain their impressions of the legislation. There is also a Traffic Tech Summary of the report available here.

Ignition Interlocks: What You Need to Know, NHTSA, (February 2014). This toolkit is designed to provide basic information regarding ignition interlocks and considerations for program administrators and policy makers in designing an efficient program.

Ignition Interlock Institutes: Promoting the Use of Interlocks and Improvements to Interlock Programs, NHTSA & MADD, (July 2013). This report summarizes the information exchanged, the conclusions drawn, and action items agreed upon during the Ignition Interlock institutes.

Actions to Eliminate Substance Impaired Driving: Adjudication and Sanctioning, TIRF, 2012. This PPT describes the full range of practical solutions courts are using to help reduce recidivism for impaired driving offenders.

Alcohol Interlock Programs: Vendor Oversight, TIRF, 2011. This document describes the critical steps to help guide the development of a reasonable and achievable vendor oversight strategy for dealing with Interlock service vendors.

Alcohol Interlocks: Harmonizing Policies and Practices - Proceedings of the 11th International Alcohol Interlock Symposium, TIRF, 2011. This report describes progress and growth in several key areas related to the use of alcohol interlocks to manage impaired driving offenders and other types of drivers.

Alcohol Interlocks: Taking Research to Practice - Proceedings of the 10th International Alcohol Interlock Symposium, TIRF, 2010. The 10th Annual Alcohol Interlock Symposium was held in Australia for the first time, reflecting the progress that Australia has made in recent years in terms of new interlock programs and the expansion of existing programs.

The Implementation of Alcohol Interlocks for First Offenders: A Case Study, TIRF, 2010. Many jurisdictions are currently considering alcohol interlock programs for first offenders. There is a wealth of information that is relevant to this decision-making process and much can be learned from jurisdictions that have already implemented a program.

Understanding behavioral patterns of interlocked offenders to inform the efficient and effective implementation of interlock programs, TIRF, 2010. Research shows that alcohol interlocks reduce recidivism among both first and repeat offenders, including hardcore offenders. The objectives of this study were to increase understanding of the behavioral patterns of offenders while on an interlock. In particular, the study examined offender compliance with device requirements and program rules. This research also illustrates how such knowledge can be used to inform the implementation and delivery of interlock programs.

The Implementation of Alcohol Interlocks for Offenders: a Roadmap, TIRF, 2010. The Roadmap was designed to help administrators and staff plan, develop and implement improvements to alcohol interlock strategies to ensure that the goals and objectives of legislation are achieved. It contains practical steps to guide the implementation of alcohol interlock devices as part of a strategy targeting either repeat, high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or first offenders.

Evaluation of the New Mexico Ignition Interlock Program, NHTSA, 2010. This is a very detailed study of the use of interlock devices in the state of New Mexico.

Administrative License Suspensions and other Vehicle Actions

Best Practice Guide for Reducing Suspended Drivers, AAMVA, 2013.  This report describes the plethora of non driving reasons that people have suspended driver’s licenses.  It uses facts and statistics to make a well reasoned argument that using DL suspension as an enforcement tool for non driver behavior is counterproductive to roadway safety.   The reason is that it reduces the time that criminal justice system can utilize on driving related suspensions to make the roadways safer.

Evaluation of Minnesota’s Vehicle Plate Impoundment Law for Impaired Drivers, NHTSA, 2011. Beginning in 1998, Minnesota implemented license plate impoundment for first-offense drivers whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .20 or higher. DWI recidivism and Driving While Suspended violations were compared for first offenders with BACs of .17-.19 (no plate impoundment) and first offenders with BACs of .20-.22 (very similar BACs but with plate impoundment). The results indicated substantial reductions in DWI recidivism and Driving While Suspended violations for those drivers whose vehicle license plates were impounded. Effects were strongest among younger drivers (ages 21-34) during the period of plate impoundment (up to one year).

Update of Vehicle Sanction Laws and Their Application, NHTSA, 2004. This report identified 131 pieces of legislation with all 50 States having at least one vehicle law in 2004.  Although it was difficult to obtain quantitative information on the application of vehicle sanctions, it was documented that at least 51 of the 131 laws are used regularly.

Effectiveness of the Ohio Vehicle Action and Administrative License Suspension Laws, NHTSA, 2002. This report describes an evaluation of both the administrative license suspension and vehicle action laws with an emphasis on the effect of the vehicle immobilization law.  Using a large dataset, the effects of new the administrative license suspension and vehicle action laws was tested to determine the impact on DUIs.

Evaluation of Use and Lose Laws, NHTSA, 2001. The objective of the study was to assess the highway safety effects of Use and Lose in terms of subsequent motor vehicle crashes and violations of underage persons arrested for alcohol/drug violations. The study was not intended to assess why jurisdictions do or do not impose Use and Lose sanctions. Rather, it makes use of such differences to establish treatment and comparison groups that are compared regarding subsequent driving records.

NCSC Library Resources

Available from the NCSC Library by emailing library@ncsc.org.

Hagen, Roger E. Suspension and Revocation Effects on the DUI Offender. Sacramento, CA: Department of Motor Vehicles, 1980. (Available in the NCSC library: KFC477 H3 1987).