JACKSON, Miss.- Mississippi ranks among the top states fighting drunk driving with their recent implementation of ignition interlocks for recent DUI convictions, said a representative from Mothers Against Drunk Driving Tuesday.
The state is only one of 28 with legislation that currently requires the devices on the personal vehicles of individuals who have recently been convicted of a DUI.
“They can help reduce drunk driving deaths in states, they separate drinking from driving and teach sober driving behavior,” said Frank Harris with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
The interlocks are basically a breathalyzer attached to the ignition of a vehicle that requires the driver to blow, under the legal limit, before the can can be started.
“The person has to turn their key then they’re prompted to blow into this breathalyzer. Then they typically have to make a humming noise, suck out or suck in so you can’t circumvent the device. They come with cameras to verify the identity of the user,” said Harris.
Harris said MADD has been promoting this form of technology as the number one combatant to drunk driving they’ve ever seen.
Previously, the primary form of prevention was license suspension. However, Harris said the flaw in that method is that people will still often drive without a license and just hope they do not get caught.
“It allows a person to be a part of society, go to their kids football and soccer games, but the trade off is, they can’t drive drunk,” said Harris.
Since 2013, Mississippi lawmakers have stepped up to the plate in passing significant drunk driving legislation, which MADD believes will lead to safer streets in Mississippi.
“Technology is the best way to combat drunk driving,” said Harris.