Would you want a small, inexpensive device installed in your car that would prevent you from driving if your blood alcohol content (BAC) was over the legal limit?
If the technology were available today, the majority of people polled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) would want such a device installed in all vehicles to prevent the vehicle from being started if the driver had been drinking.
Two out of three respondents thought this was a good or very good idea, and over 40 percent would want the device installed in their own vehicle. What is surprising is that people who drink alcohol support the idea just as strongly as those who don’t.
The mysterious non-existent device being referenced would be an alcohol detection device more sophisticated than the ignition interlocks currently used to keep repeat DUI offenders from drinking and driving. Ignition interlocks are wired into a car’s starter, so the vehicle cannot be started if the driver has been drinking.
Right now ignition interlock devices are used only for serious repeat DUI offenders. There are about 180,000 of these devices in use across the country today. Some experts question their effectiveness, however, because studies have shown that most drivers involved in fatal DUI crashes had not received a DUI conviction in the last 3 years.
Questions about the effectiveness of ignition interlocks being installed only in the vehicles of repeat offenders have driven authorities to consider other options. IIHS researchers admit to being surprised that there was such widespread support for a universal driver alcohol detection device. It appears that the public is ready for drastic measures to save the lives of DUI victims.
Those skeptical of the device questioned its accuracy and cost, and others were concerned about government intervention and privacy concerns. However, support for the devices goes up to 84 percent if it were to be installed only in the cars of all convicted DWI offenders.
Experts estimate that if alcohol detection devices had been installed in all vehicles last year, over 8,000 lives could have been saved. The desire to save lives was a big reason for survey respondents to support the use of a hypothetical alcohol detection device.
Last year 11,773 people died in auto accidents involving a drunk driver, accounting for a full 32 percent of all traffic-related deaths. Drinking and driving is a major issue in fatal and serious injury crashes in the United States, and unless something can be done to stop people from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated innocent lives will continue to be lost.
To get help or advice after a serious car or truck accident, please contact the attorneys at Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas.
DULANEY, LAUER & THOMAS, LLP
98 Alexandria Pike, Suite 11
Warrenton, VA 20186
Toll Free: 888.907.2631
209 N. West Street
Culpeper, VA 22701
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