The State of Kansas Legislature approved mandatory ignition interlock for all DUI offenders in Kansas on July, 1 2011. This was after many years of studying and contemplating the benefits of such devices if they were mandated for all DUI offenses. Hundreds of studies and hours of testimony went into making a decision that was best for the state of Kansas. All of this information was apparently analyzed correctly because the numbers show that is it is working, and working well.
Studies released by the Department of Transportation for 2011 show a dramatic decrease in the amount of alcohol related fatalities. Lower than we have seen in over a DECADE. In 2010 Kansas suffered the loss of 138 lives due to drunk driving. In 2011, with the help of new laws in many areas including Ignition Interlock on ALL DUI offenses in Kansas, we reduced that number to 76. A 45% reduction in drunk driving fatalities. IT WORKS!
There were also a reduction in alcohol related accidents. This reduction was 13.7%. There is work to be done though. Historically we have seen that programs that are for longer lengths are more effective at actually modifying behavior after the interlock is taken off of the vehicle. And best of all longer programs with incentive based removals have the best impact for immediate reduction in deaths as well as long-term change in behavior. Most importantly, those who continue to violate the program by attempting to drink and drive, are on an interlock permanently and do not have the capacity to injure anyone.
So in short, a big pat on the back to the Kansas Legislature. You have taken steps to reduce drunk driving fatalities and have succeeded. We are moving in the right direction and should be commended for the hard work, and intense study that went into this law. We also must not become complacent. Research is proving more and more the effectiveness of properly written and implemented ignition interlock policies.
We have been progressive and forward thinking as a legislature and in return have saved lives. Congrats Kansas we are moving in the right direction!
Graphs provided by Lawrence Journal World.