Reducing Drunk Driving Deaths, One State at a Time

New Study Finds 17 States Lacking Lifesaving CBR Laws 

Compliance-based removal (CBR) laws require that drivers with an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on their vehicle must have a certain number of violation-free days before the device can be removed. Such commonsense laws ensure that recent drunk driving offenders aren’t allowed back on the road without first exhibiting safe driving practices. 

Most states have adopted CBR laws, which vary in terms of the mandated duration of infraction-free device usage. Nonetheless, all 33 states with such laws share a common legal framework: offenders caught driving under the influence must prove they can avoid further impaired driving infractions before they regain unrestricted driving privileges. 

Unfortunately, 17 states have failed to seize the reins and implement such a necessary tool. These include large states like New York, North Carolina and Georgia, as well as smaller states such as Arkansas and Iowa.  

Without CBR laws, impaired driving deaths will continue to rise as more drunk drivers lack an incentive to drive sober. This hypothesis was tested in a recent study released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), which found that state laws outlining conditions to be met before IIDs can be removed equated to lower rates of repeat drunk driving.  

Inversely, states without CBR laws are paying the consequences with increased incidents threatening the lives of their citizens.  

After surveying all states to determine relevant laws and data, the GHSA study focused on two states with CBR laws (Tennessee and Washington) and two states without legal standards for removing IIDs (Arkansas and Iowa). Arkansas and Iowa saw high DUI recidivism rates over a four-year period in cases involving an IID installation of 5.6% and 6% respectfully, significantly higher than Tennessee (1.7%) and Washington (3.7%) – both of which have CBR requirements. 

This data makes clear that CBR laws are an effective tool to address high-risk drivers, and that it is essential for the 17 states without these laws to implement them. Look no further than the fact that Arkansas’ DUI recidivism rate, as measured by this study, is more than triple that of its neighbor to the east, Tennessee, a fact highlighted in recent reporting. 

Unsafe driving practices, including impaired driving, are on the rise nationwide, with disastrous consequences for the millions of Americans traveling our roads and highways daily.  

But by joining together and tackling continued drunk driving with evidence-based solutions like compliance-based removal laws, state policymakers can solve a pressing dilemma while leaving a mark for years to come.