Federal Bill Could Make In-Car Alcohol Detectors More Common Page 2

March 11, 2011

Interlocks have shown to be one of the most effective ways of keeping repeat drunk drivers off the road. Those who are involved in fatal crashes and had a BAC of .08 or higher are eight times more likely to have had a prior conviction for DWI/DUI than those drivers who didn't have alcohol in their system.

Studies have found that the installation of ignition interlocks leads to a 70-percent reduction in impaired-driver arrests.

Currently, interlocks are only installed by court order. And with an interlock system such as those provided by Smart Start, six violations are allowed; after that the vehicle won't start at all. But for a warning, the system would typically be calibrated at .03-.04 BAC, a level well below the .08 threshold for DUI.

Would alcohol detectors keep more Americans home?

Meanwhile, the American Beverage Institute, an organization representing restaurants, argues that if more vehicles included alcohol detectors, there could be some far-reaching effects on the lifestyles of law-abiding Americans—specifically, no more casual drinking when taking the car out for the evening. The association thinks that people should be able to drink and drive—within reason, so as to enable a glass of wine with dinner, or a beer at the ball game.

What do you think? Is buzzed driving—or light alcohol consumption before driving—okay?

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