It doesn’t matter if you’re a mother of three or a politician in provincial legislature: when someone drinks, drives, and gets caught, that person is going to endure the drunk driving penalty process just like everyone else.
From driver’s license suspensions to steep fines running thousands of dollars, the penalty process varies from province to province. In the United States first time drunk driving offenders can receive jail time for a simple driving under the influence (DUI) conviction, but that doesn’t happen very often in Canada unless there are aggravating factors like injury or death.
There’s no question that repeat offenders who rack up the convictions should spend time in jail, but second offenders in Canada can also receive jail time for a drunk driving conviction. Just like first offenders, unless there are aggravating factors these stints in jail will only amount to an average of fourteen days or less. Is that enough to make these offenders realize that he or she shouldn’t drink and drive again? Maybe not, and that’s why an ignition interlock can be more effective as a penalty than jail time.
An ignition interlock will stop an offender from drinking and driving because it basically takes the keys out of their hand when they attempt it. Interlocks also put the cost of the drunk driving conviction squarely on the shoulders of the drunk driver, not on taxpayers as jail time does.
When you have an ignition interlock, you’re not removed from society as you would be if you spent even a few days in jail. How will you explain to your family, coworkers, and friends that you made the choice to drink and drive and you’ve got to “go away” for a while?
With an interlock on your car, you’re able to keep working, going to family events, and stay on track with your life, and by doing so you’ll be able to finish your interlock program and move on from your conviction.
The penalty of jail time for drunk drivers will always be on the table, especially for repeat offenders, but an interlock and follow up to ensure compliance is by far the best choice for both the province and the offender to reduce the likelihood that they will drink and drive again.