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NTSB suggests ignition interlock laws for all states

Seventeen states, including Louisiana, already have ignition interlock device laws for those who are caught driving under the influence. In these states, even first-time drinking and driving offenders are required to have these devices installed.

Ignition interlock devices stop drivers that have alcohol in their system from turning on their vehicle. Some are breath-based and some are touch-based, but the effects are the same: If the device is installed and a driver with alcohol in her or his system tries to turn the engine on, it will not work. This keeps people from driving with alcohol in their system and because of the number of accidents involving alcohol, the National Transportation Safety Board has made a recommendation regarding the devices.

The NTSB believes that all states should have ignition interlock laws for all DUI offenders. This is because the board believes that it is the best available solution to drunk driving deaths. According to the NTSB, such deaths make up approximately one third of the nation's 32,000 traffic deaths each year. Though this could increase the safety of the roads, many people are against the devices for those who are not serious offenders.

The American Beverage Institute is one such group that believes that the devices will limit people's ability to have a glass of wine at dinner or a beer during a sporting event. Such a limitation would likely inhibit the thousands of chain restaurants represented by the interest group. In addition, new technology that is currently being researched is also opposed by the ABI.

The NTSB-in addition to its recommendation on ignition interlock devices-asked that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration begin working harder on systems to determine a driver's blood alcohol concentration using infrared lights. The system is being developed by the NHTSA and automakers and it will likely be used in vehicles so that all drivers cannot start their car without being scanned, not just people who have been caught driving under the influence.

Source: News 9, "NTSB: Use ignition locks for all drunken drivers," Joan Lowy, Dec. 11, 2012

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