Every year, thousands of people lose their lives due to drunk driving accidents. Despite serious penalties for drunk driving offenses, people continue to tempt fate by getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. In 2012, more than 30% of all motor vehicle deaths involved alcohol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Today, in many states, people convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol are required to have ignition interlock devices in the vehicle for a prescribed period of time. Such devices inhibit drivers from starting their vehicles if alcohol is on their breath. New research suggests that installing interlock devices in all new automobiles could prevent more than 80% of alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes, Medical News Today reports.
In the United States, almost 30 people lose their lives to alcohol related car accidents every day, and in many cases it is not the drunk driver who dies. While installing interlock devices in all new cars may be perceived as an unnecessary nuisance, the act would make the roads safer for everyone.
“Interlocks are highly effective while installed on the vehicle,” note the researchers, including Dr. Patrick Carter of the University of Michigan Injury Center, “with a systematic review finding a 67% median reduction in DWI (driving while intoxicated) recidivism.”
“While the standard use of alcohol interlocks in all new vehicles is one solution for the prevention of drinking and driving, policy makers, car manufacturers and the public will need to best determine how such technology can best be optimally deployed,” Dr. Carter told MNT. “Our research does demonstrate the potential opportunity for injury prevention and cost savings with widespread use throughout all vehicles.”
In 15 years, the installation of interlock devices in all vehicles could save the lives of 60,000 people, according to the article.
The findings were published in the American Journal of Public Health.