In a research paper published this week in the American Journal of Public Health, University of Michigan researchers estimate that alcohol related deaths, injuries, and the billions spent in accident related costs would all but disappear with mandatory alcohol interlock installation.
According the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), over 10,000 Americans are killed each year in alcohol related motor vehicle accidents. Mandatory installation of alcohol interlocks in motor vehicles would help to prevent car crashes and save literally thousands of lives each year.
An ignition interlock is an after-market device installed in a motor vehicle to prevent a driver from operating the vehicle if the driver has been drinking. Before starting the vehicle, a driver must breath into the device and if the drier’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above a pre-set limit of set point, the ignition interlock will not allow the vehicle to start.
The technology has been around for a long time and over the years, interlocks have “become more accurate, reliable, available, and less costly to install…” according to the NHTSA. In fact, many states, including New York, require convicted drunk drivers to have alcohol interlocks installed in their vehicles as a condition of allowing them back on the road.
Mandatory installation of alcohol interlocks at the point of manufacture would require Federal action. With the potential to save thousands of lives and billions of dollars each year, it may well be that alcohol interlocks become the next ‘airbag’ safety movement.