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Traffic injury Research Foundation

About Interlocks



Ignition interlock programs first began almost 20 years ago. Today, there are approximately 6 jurisdictions in Australia, 11 jurisdictions in Canada and 46 jurisdictions in the United States that have operational interlock programs. Similarly, in the EU there are 9 jurisdictions that are developing legislation, piloting a program or have an operational program. Today in North America, it is estimated that 160,000 people have an alcohol interlock installed in their vehicle. Still, low participation rates in many jurisdictions are not unusual and researchers are seeking ways to overcome barriers to program growth.

Across jurisdictions and around the world, the implementation of alcohol interlocks through supervision programs is diverse. No two applications are alike - alcohol interlocks are applied with different purposes to different populations of users; users must meet different eligibility requirements; multiple agencies may be involved in administering these applications; and reporting, monitoring and sanctioning functions vary substantially. Given the diversity across applications and the varying stages of development and features, a "one-size fits all" approach is impractical. Jurisdictions must have some flexibility to modify components to suit their respective needs given the existing variation in goals, available resources (e.g., funding, infrastructure, staffing), delivery systems, and specific challenges (e.g., rural jurisdictions, lack of transportation alternatives).