52-1 District Court Says Ignition Interlock Devices are Effective

A recent press release stated that the use of ignition interlock devices in the DWI/Sobriety Court program at Oakland County’s 52-1 District Court in Novi has reduced the number of repeat drunk driving offenders. As part of an intensive program of supervision and sanctions for convicted drivers, ignition interlocks prevent a vehicle from being driven if the blood alcohol content of the operator exceeds a certain level, which is measured by blowing into the device.

The successful results were released as part of a statewide news conference involving the Michigan Supreme Court and district courts throughout the state.

“We know all too well that drunk driving kills,” said Chief 52nd District Court Judge Julie Nicholson. “There is solid data which indicates that ignition interlocks used in conjunction with our DWI/Sobriety Court supervision save lives by preventing drunk drivers from getting back on the road.”

Researchers at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) found ignition interlock devices are an effective means of reducing the likelihood of convicted drunk drivers repeating their offenses. GVSU’s analysis of data from the first four years of this project reveals that when the ignition interlock program is incorporated into a sobriety court program like the one at 52-1 District Court, chronic driving while intoxicated offenders are less likely to get behind the wheel drunk.

Specifically, the report found:

  • Recidivism Cut in Half. A DWI recidivism rate of 2.8 percent among interlock participants who are off probation as compared to participants in the Standard Probation Group who have a DWI recidivism rate of 5.5 percent.
  • Nearly Universal Compliance. More than 97 percent of people ordered by the DWI/Sobriety Court judges to put the devices on their vehicles actually put them on.
  • Failure Rate Two-Thirds Lower. Twelve percent of interlock participants failed the DWI/Sobriety Court program, while nonparticipants had a failure rate of 34 percent.

Locally, 52-1 District Court found that using ignition interlock devices improved the successful completion rate of convicted drunk drivers in its DWI/Sobriety Court by more than 54.5 percent.

In other words, for the past two years 85 percent of convicted drunk drivers successfully completed the terms of the DWI/Sobriety Court at 52-1 District Court with the ignition interlock devices. In 2011, prior to the introduction of ignition interlock devices in the DWI/Sobriety Court, the successful completion rate was 55 percent. The data from 52-1 District Court reflects the success highlighted in the GVSU study but was not part of the research data.

The study, which uses data from 2011 to 2014, was commissioned by the Michigan Association of Treatment Court Professionals in cooperation with the State Court Administrative Office. The research in the report is based on data drawn from:

  • 8th District Court (Kalamazoo)
  • 51st District Court (Waterford)
  • 61st District Court (Grand Rapids)
  • 86th District Court (Traverse City)
  • 96th District Court (Marquette)

Last year, there were 236 alcohol-related fatalities on Michigan roadways and 9,396 crashes involving alcohol, according to Michigan State Police. There are 41 DWI/Sobriety courts statewide designed to assist participants in their recovery, prevent drinking and driving incidents, while improving their quality of life and strengthening local communities. The program keeps participants out of jail, avoiding the cost of incarceration and helping participants stay on the job. 

About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at sarah@rochestermedia.com.

Speak Your Mind