Ignition Interlocks to Prevent Drunk Driving

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is considering a policy by which drivers caught for drinking and driving will have ignition interlock devices fitted into their cars. The device prevents car engines from starting up unless the driver breathes into a device that measures whether their alcohol content is below the .08 limit. Chicago car accident lawyers are following this development carefully and hoping for the best.

Although seventeen states already have interlocks mandated for first-time DUI offenders, the NTSB wants to extend the requirement of this device for all DUI offenders. They believe that such a policy is absolutely necessary to improve the safety of America’s roads. The interlock device could prevent collision deaths, particularly those that involve a driver coming through a wrong-way. NTSB reports that about 60% of all wrong-way accidents are due to drunk or intoxicated drivers, which makes for a significant case for the widespread use of interlocks.

Interlock critics are arguing against the enforcement of any blanket regulations for those first-time offenders. They believe enforcement of this kind should be only for drivers who had exceptionally high levels of alcohol in the blood.

The American Beverage Institute and the Distilled Spirits Council are, surprisingly, advocating for the regulation of ignition interlocks for first-time DUI convicted drivers, provided they register .15 or greater blood-alcohol content. What the American Beverage Institute says is that any driver who is merely a ‘sip’ above the limit should be clearly distinguished from one who has consumed an excessive amount of alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

Justifiably, the NTSB maintains that any percentage of alcohol content above the 0.08 limit is dangerous, and puts innocent drivers and pedestrians at significant risk. It does not seem that the American Beverage Institute’s suggestions will be seriously considered, since there is still a significant number of accidents involving drunk driving and resultant deaths on America’s roads.

DUI and car accident lawyers believe that each and every human life is priceless, and all measures should be taken to protect them. Drinking and driving can certainly be avoided, and technological developments such as the interlock device are leading us in the right direction.

The American Beverage Institute highlights that even among the states accepting the interlock regulations, most are not actively enforcing it due to the immense cost. Citizens must pay for the devices themselves, which entails a $50-$200 instillation fee, a $50-$100 monthly rental fee, and any other additional charges.

There is some hope though that America’s roads are showing a trend for the better. While traffic fatalities showed a decline by 1.9% in 2011, fatal accidents involving drunk driving decreased by 2.5%. However, percentages never show the devastation of lives lost – in 2011, 9,878 lives were lost in traffic accidents in the United States.

The loss of lives can never be undermined and rules preventing them should be justly and adequately considered. Experienced car accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm would wholeheartedly support new regulations preventing the devastation of drunk driving.