Preventing Drunk Driving Collisions with Ignition Interlock Devices

Preventing Drunk Driving Collisions with Ignition Interlock Devices

A personal injury attorney knows that ignition interlock devices are one of the most effective ways to prevent drunk driving accidents. Ignition interlock devices are installed in cars and make it virtually impossible for a driver to operate a vehicle impaired. Before starting the vehicle, the driver has to blow into a breath-testing device. If the driver is over-the-limit, the vehicle will not start.

Currently, every state requires ignition interlock devices for certain defendants convicted of driving under the influence. However, Mothers Against Drunk Driving thinks that IIDs should be more widespread. Not every state requires them for every offender, and even in locations that ostensibly do mandate them, courts do not always enforce the requirement. With an estimated 10,000 deaths each year due to drunk drivers, MADD believes requiring an ignition interlock device for every single first time DUI offender is an important step. MADD suggests this requirement could reduce the risk of DUI deaths by about 30 percent.

Another proposal goes even further than requiring IIDs for all DUI defendants. Health Day reports on the possible option of simply requiring ignition interlock devices as a standard safety feature on every new vehicle that is sold.

Should Ignition Interlock Devices be a Standard Feature?

According to HealthDay, DUIs cause $60 billion in costs annually and drunk drivers are involved in 30 percent of all fatal motor vehicle collisions in the United States.

If ignition interlock devices were a standard required feature in all new autos, the number of DUI deaths could be reduced by 85 percent over 15-years. Between 84 and 85 percent of all injuries in non-fatal drunk driving crashes could also be eliminated.

There are problems with requiring IIDs for all drivers. Privacy is one big issue. Another is the fairness of inconveniencing people who have never done anything wrong and who may never even consider driving while impaired. There is unlikely to be any type of public support for a proposal requiring ignition interlocks in all cars. In fact, the Governors Highway Safety Association has listed a lack of support as one reason why this type of proposal is not supported by the Association at this time.

The study, however, suggests that overcoming these problems could be worth it. Researchers indicated that as many as 59,000 lives could be saved and 1.25 million injuries could be avoided if every car had an IID. The researchers also believe that the costs of installing the devices would be offset by the $343 billion in savings that would be achieved over 15-years if so many DUI crashes were prevented.

The GHSA says that while it doesn’t support universal ignition interlock devices now, it could in the future if there was a technology that worked flawlessly and seamlessly and if the public supported it. With technologies advancing so rapidly, it is possible that one day a non-intrusive and simple-to-use BAC test could be developed and incorporated into cars to help prevent drunk driving crashes.

Central and Western Pennsylvania attorneys at Marcus & Mack have helped the injured and families who lost loved ones in accidents for nearly 40 years. Contact Marcus & Mack know if you need aggressive representation. Call (814) 277-5664 for a free consultation or visit Tell them you mean business!

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