New Mexico, home to high rates of alcohol abuse and miles and miles of open road, is now ranked 25th in alcohol-related fatal crash rates and is expected to place lower when the latest rankings are compiled later this year. From 2004 to 2008, the number of DWI fatalities here dropped 35%, from 219 to 143.
The article also discusses the successes of the vehicle interlock device that requires a convicted drunk driver to blow into a device to operate their car.
I can relate first hand how well these devices work. I have a friend who is alcoholic. It amazes me how many times he has been driving drunk and didn’t get caught or kill somebody. He recently told me how he came out of a bar drunk and tried to start his car. He blew into the interlock device somewhere around 20 times and a person with him finally convicted him to stop trying.
My friend is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. When he is sober he completely understand that he should not be drinking and driving and that he was too drunk to drive. When he is drunk he looses all concept of reason and tries to drive, he actually kept the interlock device installed on his vehicle even after he was no longer legally required. This is exactly the type of person the interlock device is designed for.
Interlock devices only help for those that have been convicted of drinking and driving. They don’t help for those that haven’t yet caught and I once read a statistic that one could drink and drive several hundred times before getting caught.