All of the US’ fifty states have laws permitting the use of ignition interlocks that can only be bypassed if the driver proves he or she has not been drinking, by taking their own breathalyzer test each time they set out.
However, from that point on, legislation varies from region to region, and cannot be enforced with the same strictness everywhere, as NHTSA Administrator, David Strickland, would like.
The official, speaking on behalf of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, urged all states to start requiring these devices for first-time drunken driving offenders, in order to “protect sober motorists and ensure that individuals convicted of drunk driving learn from their mistakes.”
The Detroit News says that in the state of Michigan, for instance, the law prevents the device from allowing you to start your car, if the blood-alcohol reading is higher than 0.0025, and will then still subject the driver to random tests on the move.
The price for all this safety is about $50 to $75 per device to buy and have installed, then another $50 to $75 in monthly maintenance and monitoring costs.
The NHTSA says drivers of cars equipped with these interlocks are 75 percent less likely to go about their drunken driving ways again, and that’s why it’s funding a $7.5 million advertising campaign to raise awareness during the holiday season.
By Andrei Nedelea