The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended that all first time drunk driving offenders be forced to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. This recommendation comes after an investigation by the NTSB of fatal wrong way crashes. The hope from the NTSB is that this would increase the rate of alcohol free driving and lower the incidence of alcohol related accidents.
Currently, seventeen states require DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device. This device requires the driver to provide a sample of their breath prior to operating their car, and if the BAC or blood alcohol level of the sample is below the legal limit the car will start; if not, it won’t.
The recommendation from the NTSB comes after their investigation determined that about one-third of all fatal highway accidents are caused by an alcohol or drug impaired driver. This means that over 10,000 deaths occur each year on our highways, many of them caused by drivers who drive the wrong direction.
The NTSB is also working with car manufacturers to encourage them to develop and install what is referred to as passive alcohol detection technology such as DADSS – Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety. This device would not require the driver to actively blow into the system but would simply detect the driver’s BAC through “breath- and touch-based sensors on a dashboard.”
The chairman of NTSB Deborah A. P. Hersman said in a press release, “Technology is the game changer in reducing alcohol-related crashes on our nation’s roadways. Achieving zero alcohol-impaired driving-related deaths is possible only if society is willing to separate the impaired driver from the driving task.”
While critics of the forced implementation on all cars argue such installations are an infringement on our personal rights, much the same way street cameras installed at lights might be, Hersman argues that ignition interlock devices have proven to be an effective deterrent for drunk driving.
The question truly becomes how much freedom is the average driver willing to sacrifice to increase safety while driving. Of course this discussion is only relevant if the NTSB successfully convinces car manufacturers to install this device on all cars. Most individuals agree that intoxicated drivers, who have been convicted of drunk driving, have lost their right to drive and should suffer the consequences.
Many groups embrace the new policies, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving the American Automobile Association and the State Highway Patrol. In fact, MADD Executive Director Doug Scoles said his organization has been supporting efforts to require ignition interlocks for first-time offenders for the past four years.
Hiring a DUI lawyer
Laws for states vary but if you have been arrested for DUI this is a serious offense and you can suffer serious DUI penalties. It is illegal in every state to operate a motorized vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. If you are arrested you should contact a drunk driving lawyer immediately for more information about your options. Do not try to fight a DUI charge without legal help.
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