Program Goals/Target Population
The Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device Program (BAIID) was piloted in 1994, and made permanent in 1998, to combat the high rates of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol in Illinois. The program initially targeted offenders with multiple DUI violations who were granted limited driving privileges (e.g., for employment, educational, or medical purposes) through a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) during the suspension or revocation of their license. The State passed a law, which became effective in 2009, that expanded the use of BAIID to first-time offenders.
Breath analyzer ignition interlock devices have become popular across the Nation as a way to combat alcohol-related vehicular accidents. As of April 2009, 47 States and the District of Columbia had introduced the use of interlock programs (Rauch, et al. 2011).
The BAIID office coordinates the program and is notified by the administrative hearings office when an individual has been granted an MDDP with a BAIID. Participants are required to pay for all costs associated with this program (a fund for indigent individuals is also available). Once violators have fulfilled the conditions of the MDDP and paid their fees, they are mailed a map that lists all of the BAIID installation sites within Illinois. Participants have 14 days to have the device installed. Then when the device has been installed, vendors notify the office. Participants can legally drive only those vehicles that have a BAIID installed.
The interlock connects the vehicle’s ignition system to a breath analyzer. Before the offender can start the car, the individual must breathe into the device, which is calibrated to “lock” the ignition if the breath alcohol level exceeds a preprogrammed level (0.05). The devices also are programmed for “rolling retests” at intervals while the car is in operation. If the driver fails one of these tests, the device triggers the horn and flashing lights, which will continue to attract notice until the car is turned off.
Vendors provide periodic updates to the BAIID office regarding the performance of individuals using the BAIID. These updates are scrutinized to detect evidence of attempts to tamper with the device or of violators’ attempts to start the vehicle with alcohol in their system. If evidence is found, a letter of inquiry is sent to the violator requesting specifics about the incident.
BAIIDs are removed 1 year after installation.
To the extent that a theory grounds the use of interlock devices, routine activity theory may apply (see Rauch et al. 2011). This theory predicts that crime will increase when motivated offenders find suitable targets that lack capable guardians. The interlock device in this perspective acts as a way to remove a suitable target (a drivable car) from a motivated offender (the alcohol-impaired driver). It also acts as a “guardian” to prevent the crime of operating a vehicle while under the influence.
Some researchers also refer to learning theory to explain the presence or absence of changed behavior after the device is removed from the vehicle (see Rauch et al. 2011). The theory suggests that offenders have to “unlearn” the drinking behavior and then have to be repeatedly “rewarded” by successful driving episodes (that is, not being caught while driving intoxicated). If the device is installed for too short of a period, the offenders do not have sufficient time to unlearn their previous behaviors. If the device is installed for a longer time, the driver is conditioned to learn about the negative effect (that drinking is “punished” by the inability to start the car).
The Raub and colleagues (2001) study used a quasi-experimental design with a noncomparable comparison group. Allocation to the condition was not random. The control group (n=1,384) consisted of all offenders who applied for and received a restricted driving permit following an earlier offense during the period of July 1, 1991, through June 30, 1994. The treatment group (n=1,560) comprised all those who applied for and received a restricted driving permit following an earlier offense during the period of July 1, 1994, through June 30, 1997.
The treatment group was 92.4 percent male with an average age of 38.7 years. The control group was 91.1 percent male with an average age of 37.5 years. The two groups did not differ significantly on any of the variables that could be studied (age, sex, and county of residence), but there was no data available on any other factors that have been associated with DUI recidivism in the research literature (e.g., number of prior DUI violations); no statistical controls were used to match the two groups. Although 152 participants in the control group had their licenses revoked, these participants were included in the analysis.
Researchers analyzed time to first DUI rearrest for 4 time periods: 1 year and less, 1 to 2 years, 2 to 3 years, and 3 to 4 years. The Illinois Secretary of State made available driver record summaries (called “abstracts”) for all drivers in the treatment and control groups. The study employed t-tests and survival analysis to examine group differences.
Raub and colleagues (2001) found that, while installed, the interlock device did deter new violations. The trend analysis found, however, that it did not promote long-term behavior change. The survival analysis found a statistically significant difference in the number of days until rearrest between the treatment group (716 days) and the control group (515 days). Within the first 3 years after their hearing, 20 percent of control group were rearrested, compared with 8 percent of the treatment group. However, the differences between the two groups began to disappear toward the end of the third year. By the fourth year, approximately the same proportion from both groups was rearrested for DUI. Researchers noted that the group studied was a self-selecting group, since all participants applied for renewed driving privileges; they did not study those who did not reapply.