New Study Shows That Device Would Prevent 59,000 Drunk Driving Deaths Per Year

Bloomberg News reported last week that a new University of Michigan Study revealed that if a drunk driving device was installed into every vehicle, it could prevent up to 59,000 traffic fatalities every year. Current ignition interlock technology, which has been around since the 1960s, prevents a vehicle from being started if a driver’s breath registers a certain amount of alcohol. In recent years, some states have mandated their use for convicted drunk drivers.

Typically, this type of device is only required if someone has been charged with a DUI and their license has been suspended for blowing over the legal limit or refusing to blow. For instance, in Illinois, if someone has their license suspended by the secretary of state, they can legally drive during their suspension if the driver pays to have this device installed. Other times, judges can order that this type of device be installed as part of probation for repeat offenders.

It can be assured that this type of technology will seek opposition. First, there will be the cost by automakers and consumers. Will they want to pay for this device and should they be forced to?  Also, it will be interesting to see if there will be any backlash from the ACLU as this could be viewed as an infringement on people’s privacy.

I think safety advocates will view this similar to the seat belt and air bags. Before those two devices who introduced into the marketplace, they were viewed as too expensive and the government pushing too far into what drivers can or cannot do. Obviously, through the years we all know that seat belts and airbags have saved thousands of lives and prevented serious injuries. Further, driving in this country is not a right. Driving is considered a privilege. A privilege that you have to qualify for by passing tests, paying for insurance and following the rules of the road.

University of Michigan’s Injury Center and Transportation Research Institute said in the study, released Thursday, that cost savings from widespread use of ignition interlock technology could outweigh the expense of the devices after three years.

“The goal is to develop a system that can accurately and reliably detect when a driver is above the legal alcohol limit and that could be offered as original equipment in new cars on a voluntary, market-driven basis,” Gordon Trowbridge, a NHTSA spokesman, said in a statement.

“Automakers will have to be convinced, and make sure that the costs of the technology are something that consumers are willing to pay for and they want,” said Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.