In Chicago, Evanston, Wilmette and Highland Park, motorists are at risk of becoming involved in a drunk driving accident. Mothers Agains Drunk Driving (MADD) reports that around 10,000 people are killed each year in accidents caused by drunk drivers. Prevention of these accidents is essential. A personal injury lawyer knows that public education and law enforcement are two of the major approaches used to deter drunk driving.
One study that was reported on in HealthDay had another proposed solution: putting an ignition interlock device standard in all new vehicles. An ignition interlock device is a device that tests a driver’s blood alcohol concentration before letting a driver start the car. The study took a look at what the impact would be if this was adopted as a requirement.
Standard Ignition Interlock Devices Could Reduce Drunk Driving Crashes
The study into the use of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) found that 85 percent of DUI fatalities and between 84 and 85 percent of DUI injuries could be prevented if ignition interlock devices were a required feature in all vehicles.
Over a 15-year period of time, this means that the inclusion of these devices in cars could stop 1.25 million people from experiencing serious injuries. The IIDs could also protect 59,000 people from being killed in drunk driving accidents.
The study acknowledged that there is a financial cost to putting IIDs into vehicles. However, there is also a cost to drunk driving injuries and deaths. An estimated $343 billion could be saved over a 15-year period by the use of universal ignition interlock devices. This would offset any expenditures that are associated with including the devices in cars.
The Governors Highway Safety Association has stated that ignition interlock devices have an important role to play in helping to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the roads. However, the GHSA is not in support of making these devices universally required at this present time.
The GHSA expressed many reservations, including privacy concerns. For a universal IID requirement to be viable, there would need to be strong public support for it to overcome worries about privacy and inconvenience. The device would also need to work flawlessly and seamlessly so drivers were not inconvenienced by having to check their BAC every time they want to drive somewhere.
Currently, ignition interlock devices are required for all DUI offenders to get their driver’s license returned after a conviction in Illinois with a BAC of .08 or higher. The GHSA and most other safety groups support their use in this context. Mothers Against Drunk Driving has urged that ignition interlock devices be required after every DUI conviction in all states, even though this is not currently the law everywhere. When all offenders are required to have IIDs, there has been a 30 percent reduction in DUI deaths.
Requiring IIDs is justified for past offenders, but not necessarily for drivers with no history of impaired driving. However if technologies advance and a seamless and problem-free way to detect blood alcohol concentration is developed that doesn’t inconvenience drivers, this type of technology could some day find its way into vehicles as a standard safety feature.
After an injury, contact Deratany & Kosner at 800-529-7285. Serving Chicago and surrounding areas including Evanston, Wilmette and Highland Park.