Understanding non-installers of the ignition interlock device: A qualitative analysis

Drug Alcohol Rev. 2021 Sep;40(6):1083-1091. doi: 10.1111/dar.13275. Epub 2021 Mar 25.


Introduction: Literature notes the efficacious use of alcohol ignition interlock devices (IID) in reducing rates of drinking and driving while installed on the vehicle. Some drivers who are convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) elect to have their license suspended/revoked instead of installing the device. These individuals represent a high-risk subsample of drivers, yet limited literature has addressed this concern. The current study seeks to fill this gap using qualitative interviews addressing: (i) why do non-installers make the choice to not install a mandated IID; and (ii) how are non-installers managing without the IID?

Methods: The study utilises the Managing Heavy Drinkers study of drivers in Erie County, New York, USA. Participants were purposively sampled from a group of non-installers (n = 6; four females, two males) who completed semi-structured interviews. Constructed grounded theory was used to develop a theoretical understanding of participant's experiences.

Results: To understand why participants elect not to install the IID, thematic analysis revealed: alleviating constraints, predominantly the financial burdens associated with an IID, and institutional mistrust. Additionally, data revealed that participants are managing without the IID by mitigating apprehension. This included driving cautiously to avoid detection and utilising alternative transportation.

Discussion and conclusions: This study furthers understanding of why drivers convicted of a DWI elect not to install an IID. Future research should seek to identify barriers to IID installation. This work provides evidence for establishing institutional protocols that ensure drivers convicted of a DWI receive consistent and correct information about the IID process.

Keywords: alcohol ignition interlock; alcohol misuse; driving under the influence; driving while intoxicated; ignition interlock cost.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Alcoholic Intoxication* / diagnosis
  • Alcoholic Intoxication* / prevention & control
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Driving Under the Influence* / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Licensure
  • Male
  • Protective Devices