Fell, James C.
; Voas, Robert
; McKnight, A. Scott
; and Levy, Marvin
In Proceedings of the T2007 Joint International Meeting of TIAFT/ICADTS/IIS, August 26-30
, (2007)Repeat offenders convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) are four times more likely to be intoxicated when involved in a fatal crash than drivers without prior DWI or DUI convictions. The arrest and conviction of such offenders should decrease the likelihood of these high-risk DWI drivers from becoming crash involved in the future. However, other than long-term incarceration, there is no certain method for keeping DWI offenders from driving while impaired.
Because of the high number of suspended DWI offenders driving illegally and the limited enforcement resources available to deal with the problem, many States and the Federal government have enacted legislation directed at the vehicles owned by offenders to limit their unlawful driving. Such legislation falls primarily into three broad categories: (1) programs that require special plates on the vehicles of DWI offenders and/or confiscate the vehicle plates and vehicle registration; (2) programs that require installation of devices in the vehicle that prevent it from operating if the driver has been drinking (alcohol ignition interlocks); and, (3) programs that impound, immobilize, confiscate or forfeit the vehicle. None of these vehicle controls is foolproof, however, several of the vehicle sanctions have been found to reduce recidivism. This report updates a 1992 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sponsored study of vehicle sanctions (Voas, 1992). That study found relatively few jurisdictions with active vehicle sanction programs. Although 32 States were found to have laws providing for various vehicle sanctions, in most States these sanctions were rarely used. This current study updates that effort with a contemporary overview of vehicle sanction laws and their application. It goes beyond the earlier study by reporting on the literature from abroad, incorporating a review of ignition interlock devices (not considered in the earlier study), and providing a more recent list of vehicle sanctions on a State-by-State basis.