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1/18/2013 - NTSB recommends nationwide implementation of alcohol-ignition interlocks


The NTSB wants alcohol-ignition interlocks installed in cars.

While auto insurance claims involve a variety of accident scenarios, one of the less common kinds are people driving on the wrong side of the road. These do happen, though, and according to the National Transportation Safety Board, they tend to occur when alcohol is involved.

Because of this and other accidents caused by drunk driving, the NTSB recently recommended that all drivers convicted of operating their vehicles under the influence be required to have ignition interlocks installed on their cars.

Deborah Hersman, chairman of the NTSB, indicated that it's high time officials start using today's latest innovations in a way that enhances the public's safety.

"Technology is the game changer in reducing alcohol-related crashes on our nation's roadways," said Hersman. "Achieving zero alcohol-impaired driving-related deaths is possible only if society is willing to separate the impaired driver from the driving task."

Used in 17 states, alcohol-ignition interlocks are devices that prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver is intoxicated. This is determined by the motorists blowing into a tube that's mounted onto the device. Through the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, it's able to detect the motorist's blood-alcohol content.

Based on the NTSB's findings, it's estimated that approximately 260 wrong-way accidents occur each year, most of them resulting in a person's death. Researchers also found that these incidents tend to happen on Saturdays and Sundays and near the median strip.

Transportation officials are confident that if all 50 states adopt the use of these interlocks, drunk driving fatalities will decline.

Already, however, incidents involving impaired driving appear to be on the decline. Recently noted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, drunk driving fatalities totaled less than 10,000 last year, down 2.5% from the previous year, according to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


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