08192017Headline:

Bangor & Augusta, Maine

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Don Briggs
Don Briggs
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Drunk Drivers, Suspended Licenses, and Fatal Crashes: Does Maine Need the Ignition Interlock System?

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Every ten hours, a driver with a suspended license gets into a crash in Maine. That’s according to a recent article from the Kennebec Journal Morning Sentinel. More concerning, still, is that one quarter of these drivers has been drinking or using drugs before the crash.This comprehensive report offers a detailed analysis of the problem and reveals that, not only are suspended drivers getting into crashes, but they are six times more like to be fatal crashes that those caused by properly licensed drivers. Some states have adopted tough laws and new technology to fight the problem. Should Maine do the same?

Suspended drivers, though, aren’t the only problem. In many states, like Maine, drivers who have their licenses suspended are eligible to apply for work-restricted licenses that allow them to drive between home and work. The Portland Press Herald reports that there are currently over 1000 Mainers operating under restricted licenses. However, they’re difficult to regulate and often abused. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers supports the implementation of an Ignition Interlock System that acts as sort of breathalyser that is installed in the vehicles of repeat OUI offenders. The device requires periodic breath tests that must record a blood alcohol level below a certain limit in order for the engine to start. The devices, which have been implemented in several states, have faced much criticism, and it’s clear that the problem of drinking and driving in Maine cannot be solved by technology alone, but it’s equally clear that more must be done to keep dangerous drivers off Maine roads.