Wisconsin may have a big problem on its streets soon; a big drunk driving problem, that is. On March 15, 2016, the State Senate votes on a bill that will allow the court to order OWI offenders into a “24/7 sobriety” program, rather than install an ignition interlock device. These programs monitor an offender’s alcohol use, helping to create a sense of security that the person has not been drinking but they do not restrict their access to a vehicle. Considering that an OWI involves both drinking and driving, the rationale behind allowing an offender the ability to legally drive without an ignition interlock does not add up. In fact, it doesn’t make any sense, at all.
MADD recently released a report on the success of ignition interlock devices – stopping a whopping 1.77 million attempts to drive while intoxicated across the U.S. In Wisconsin alone, that number was 156,000, proving the devices work to keep the streets safe from drunk drivers. Unfortunately, even when ordered to install an ignition interlock, not all offenders comply – some even continue to drink and drive, albeit illegally. 24/7 sobriety programs monitor alcohol consumption only, leaving those offenders to possibly drive while intoxicated because there is no interlock requirement.
It is true that ignition interlock devices are another expense on top of the court costs and fees associated with an OWI in Wisconsin. However, the financial burden placed on an OWI offender should be less of a worry than the safety of others on the roads, especially considering the financial impact we all share when an OWI turns tragic. Ignition interlock devices stop drunk drivers from putting others in danger, and they continue to prove their worth each day in Wisconsin and across the U.S.
Let your voice be heard! Show your support for ignition interlock devices and safe roads by contacting your Governor, State Representatives and Senators before the big vote on March 15!