How far should government go to prevent drunk driving incidents? One new proposal is from the National Transportation Safety Board, and recommends that even drivers who have just one DWI conviction be required to use an ignition interlock in their vehicles. This doesn’t seem unreasonable to me, but has not previously been the law in all states.
The proposal was detailed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Here are excerpts:
All drivers who get a first-time drunken-driving offense may be forced to put an ignition interlock device into their car — which would require them to have alcohol-free breath to drive.
That recommendation was among several made by the National Transportation Safety Board as part of a special investigation on fatal wrong-way crashes.
Seventeen states currently require interlocks for first time offenders. The device prevents a car engine from starting until a breath sample has been provided, analyzed for alcohol content and determined to be lower than prescribed limits.
The NTSB said alcohol impairment continues to be present in about one-third of all fatal highway accidents, resulting in more than 10,000 deaths per year and new countermeasures to alcohol-impaired driving, as well as renewed emphasis at the federal, state, and local level, are needed.
The NTSB is also encouraging development of a passive alcohol detection technology such as DADSS – Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety – which detects alcohol in the driver through breath- and touch-based sensors on a dashboard and measures blood-alcohol content and prevents people from operating their vehicle.