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Interlock Devices Can Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents

Imagine a car that knows when you are too drunk to drive and responds by not turning on. According to researchers, these integrated interlock devices could be the key to preventing drunk driving accidents.

Michigan Interlock Devices

Michigan has been using interlock devices to prevent repeat drunk driving offenses for a long time. These devices hook in to a car’s ignition system and prevent the vehicle from starting until the driver blows into the device and registers below a specific blood alcohol content.

The Michigan Secretary of State’s office requires interlock devices when a person with a history of drunk driving tries to reinstate his or her license if he or she has:

  • Two or more alcohol-related convictions within 7 years;
  • Three or more alcohol-related convictions within 10 years; or
  • One conviction of driving with a high BAC (over 0.17%)

Effectiveness of Interlock Devices

Researchers at the Injury Center and Transportation Research Institute have recently published a study that shows just how effective interlock devices could be at preventing drunk driving. They found that the use of these devices could avoid 85 percent of all alcohol-related auto fatalities. If they were installed in every new car over a 15 year period, that could mean preventing over 59,000 deaths and 1.25 injuries.

New Interlock Devices Could Improve Safety

The problem with interlock devices is that they impose a somewhat cumbersome extra step between getting in the car and driving. There are sanitary concerns as well as a social stigma against blowing into an interlock device before driving.

But now the federal government is testing a device that could be applied to the steering wheel and detect BAC through the driver’s skin. These more advanced technologies could be the key to preventing drunk driving accidents. According to Dr. Patrick Carter, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine:

“There’s potential if the technology advances far enough that the device is seamless to the driver experience. . . It may not be that the first way to go for this is to mandate, it might be that maybe it’s a condition for getting a discount on your car insurance and it’s a voluntary action, or parents putting it in their teenagers’ vehicles.”

Seamless BAC detection could be the key to reducing and even eliminating drunk driving accidents. By equipping cars to lock down when drunk drivers get behind the wheel, the auto industry could save thousands of lives and prevent millions of crashes, ending the question of preventing drunk driving once and for all.

David Christensen is an auto accident attorney at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He and his team represent the victims of drunk driving accidents and make sure they can receive the benefits and compensation they need to recover from their crashes. If you know someone who has been hit by a drunk driver, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.