Impaired: the ignition interlock device at the first offense, recommends the INSPQ

The alcohol ignition interlock should be offered systematically from a first offense, says the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ), which also recommends that the device is eventually installed on all vehicles.
In a notice published Monday, the INSPQ recalls that driving while impaired by alcohol is the leading cause of death on Quebec’s roads. He also points out that the percentage of drivers who died with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit has been stagnating at around 30% since the early 2000s.

The INSPQ documentary research shows that participation in an alcohol ignition interlock program “significantly reduces the risk of recidivism, for both primary and repeat offenders”. Hence the interest, according to the Institute, to increase its use among all offenders of drinking and driving.

Currently, first-time offenders are not required to install an alcohol ignition interlock device to recover their driving privileges after the 90-day suspension period until they are convicted under the Criminal Code. Only those with a blood alcohol level above 160 mg / 100ml of blood are required to have such a device as long as the results of a risk assessment are unfavorable, recalls the INSPQ.

Risk Assessment

As several studies show that a first arrest for impaired driving significantly increases the risk of re-offending and that “some primary offenders share similar characteristics with repeat offenders,” the Institute recommends imposing an assessment of the risk of re-offending. anyone who has been arrested for impaired driving for the first time. As a result of this risk assessment, if doubts exist, anyone wishing to continue driving should be given the alcohol ignition interlock device, the INSPQ estimates. The device would be maintained “until an assessment indicates that the driver is able to disassociate the consumption of alcohol and the safe driving of a vehicle,” he recommends.

As for recidivists, the INSPQ suggests the mandatory lifetime installation of the immobilizer at the second conviction for driving while impaired, a provision already in the reform of the Highway Safety Code, whose changes will come into effect. force in the coming months.

Finally, the INSPQ recommends that the immobilizer possibly become a device installed on all vehicles. “Like the European experiences, the INSPQ recommends first that pilot projects be carried out within fleets of public and commercial vehicles [trucks, buses, school transportation, etc.] in order to evaluate their feasibility. and social acceptability, “proposes the Institute.

If the evaluation of the projects is favorable, the installation of an immobilizer should be considered on all the vehicles, recommends the INSPQ.

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