Health Policy, In the News ,

Ignition Interlock Device saves lives

In the United States, almost 30 people die in motor vehicle crashes involving alcohol-impaired driving every day. According to CDC, in 2013, there were 10,076 people died of alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.

Thankfully, Ignition interlock device (IID) can do amazing things to indirectly reduce the number of cases concerning drunk driving. IID is a mechanism installed in a vehicle to deter driving under the influence of alcohol. It is a breathalyzer. The driver must exhale into the device before starting the vehicle. If the analyzed result is greater than the pre-programmed level, the device will prevent the vehicle from being started. Moreover, in some programs in certain states, more restricted IID is installed. Besides the test to start the vehicle, driver has to take random retests during driving. The vehicle will not be turned off during driving, if the result exceeds the pre-programmed level. Instead, the device will give a signal to remind the driver of stopping.

In 2012, governments of all 50 states enacted laws permitting the imposition of ignition interlock device as an alternative punishment for drunken drivers. But the detailed requirement on using IID varies across different states.

In addition to the device installed in a vehicle to reduce drunk driving, Mothers Against Dunk Driving (MADD) tend to reach different local governments to have more restrict law to end drunk driving. MADD gathered to call on lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 619. This law advocated by MADD would mandate interlocks for anyone convicted with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more, instead of 0.15.  Currently, there are 26 states already took the advice from MADD into consideration. The North Carolina General Assembly are discussing this very law.

Photo credit: http://www.adamgreenmanlaw.com/oregon-ignition-lock-information/