DWI Archives: Could there be more alcohol ignition interlocks for motorcycles?

One of the most useful pieces of technology in the fight against drunken driving is the interlock ignition device. The technology is fairly new, but you have probably heard of them: These devices are breathalyzers that are installed in the automobiles of people who have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. If the driver fails the breathalyzer, the device temporarily locks the car’s ignition. This has lowered the rate of recidivism for drunk drivers and has no doubt saved lives. So why aren’t there more of these devices on motorcycles?

Motorcyclists are also capable of riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol, yet there are far fewer interlock ignition devices, or IIDs, installed in motorcycles than cars. A recent study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration examined the ignition interlocks for motorcycles. As it turns out, there are several mitigating factors that make using IIDs more complicated for motorcycles.

Feasibility

Currently, there are only two manufacturers in the United States whose IIDs can be used on motorcycles; this is obviously a hurdle for availability. The design of motorcycles also poses a challenge: the devices are more susceptible to theft and damage from the weather when they are not protected by the body of a car. Further, motorcycles’ engines provide too much vibration for the devices. There are also liability concerns that deter many manufacturers from producing the devices. Ultimately, the widespread use of interlock ignition devices is feasible in the near future, once these challenges have been addressed.

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