Unfortunately, celebrities drink and drive just like everyone else, and they get caught, too. We might complain about how often a Hollywood star, music icon or sports figure is arrested for drunk driving, but, everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes, because of the “notoriety factor,” judges have ordered celebrities to educate others on the dangers of drunk driving. The court understands that there is a benefit to celebrity status: people listen to celebrities. Why not have a celebrity in the spotlight, making it “okay” to use an ignition interlock device, and potentially strengthening drunk driving and ignition interlock laws across the country.
Every state in the U.S. has ignition interlock laws. While each state differs in the specifics of the requirement for IIDs, all states could benefit from celebrities who educate the public about the devices and push for more interlock legislation. The success of the devices in reducing the number of drunk drivers on the road is astounding; yet, many states hesitate to fully implement ignition interlock requirements for drunk driving convictions. Combining celebrity endorsements with ignition interlock laws could help take the stigma out of using ignition interlock devices.
Everyone makes mistakes. We know, however, that people who get arrested for driving under the influence have generally done so many times before actually getting caught. Well-known celebrities like Lindsay Lohan have had repeat instances of DUI, and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was recently arrested for drunk driving. Not only could these celebrities influence current laws, but, they could provide the backdrop for a “comeback kid” story that involves driving sober long after an ignition interlock device has been removed from their vehicles. We all love a happy, “Hollywood” ending – why not let an ignition interlock be what gets us (and the celebrities) back on the path to sober driving?