The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reports a significant increase in DUI Ignition Interlock participation due to the passage of legislation that gives offenders the opportunity to immediately participate in the Ignition Interlock Program. Acting DMV Commissioner Steve Dale encourages all DUI offenders, especially first time offenders, to take advantage of the program.
According to Commissioner Dale, “The Interlock Program has two primary goals. One is to increase the safety of our roadways by preventing at-risk people from driving while under the influence of alcohol, and the second is to modify the behavior of those at-risk people through the use of these devices. The new law allows entry into Interlock immediately, making the behavior modification more effective, while protecting other drivers and allowing the participants to attend rehabilitation programs, manage their lives and be productive citizens.”
Additionally, the law has support from many highway safety advocate programs, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Jan Withers, MADD National President, says, “MADD applauds West Virginia’s new law to save lives and reduce drunk driving, and MADD calls for all states to follow the lead of West Virginia. Allowing offenders to install an alcohol ignition interlock immediately after a DUI offense is more effective than an unenforceable restricted license during a license suspension period. Due in part to West Virginia’s all-offender interlock law implemented in 2008, DUI deaths have dropped by 33 percent, while nationally during this time, drunk driving deaths have decreased by 20 percent.”
On the administrative side, DMV has noticed a large drop in the number of hearings requested by DUI offenders to challenge their driver’s license revocation. This decrease in hearings reduces the need for law enforcement to divert their time to attend these hearings from their primary job of protecting West Virginians. In the last four months, hearing requests have dropped by almost 50% from the same four month span one year ago (974 to 497). The last two months of data available, September and October, show an even sharper decrease in hearing requests compared to September and October 2013.
For more information about the Ignition Interlock Program, please call the DMV headquarters at 1-304-558-3900.