In South Carolina, certain DUI defendants are required to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. These devices are used to make sure that people cannot drive drunk again after they have been convicted of this offense. The ignition interlock device makes the driver blow into a breathalyzer and have his blood alcohol concentration tested before the car starts. The vehicle doesn’t operate if the driver’s BAC is too high, so the driver literally cannot drive drunk.
While ignition interlock devices are used nationwide for DUI defendants after conviction, new research is suggesting that this use could be expanded. According to Health Day, research from the University of Michigan Injury Center suggests that thousands of lives could be saved if ignition interlock devices were installed standard in all cars, regardless of whether a driver had any sort of criminal record or past history of DUI.
There may be problems with the proposal, but Health Day also points out some significant advantages that could come with essentially making drunk driving impossible. Drunk driving has tremendous societal costs and those who are hurt by drunk drivers need to understand their rights. A Charleston DUI accident lawyer can help those who have been harmed to pursue a claim after a drunk driving crash, but nothing undoes the pain of injury or death due to someone who is drunk behind the wheel. Preventing these tragic accidents could save countless families from unspeakable grief.
Universal Ignition Interlock Devices to Stop DUI Crashes?
The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism sponsored the recent U of Michigan Research, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health. Researchers revealed that around 30 percent of all motor vehicle collisions that happened over the last two decades involved at least one driver who was intoxicated. The societal cost of drunk driving accidents totals around $60 billion annually, which is a fifth of the total annual losses associated with all motor vehicle accidents.
If ignition interlock devices were standard in all new vehicles, the number of accidents could be dramatically reduced. In-car breathalyzers would cause drunk driving to decline by an estimated 85 percent over a period of 15 years, and between 84 and 88 percent of non-fatal drunk driving crashes would be eliminated as a result.
Around 59,000 lives would be saved and 1.25 million serious injuries could be avoided if the ignition interlock devices were installed in all cars. Drivers between the ages of 21 and 29 would see the biggest drop in deadly DUI accidents, and drivers between ages 16 and 21 would be the second biggest beneficiaries in terms of lives saved if ignition interlock devices were mandatory for all motorists.
There is a cost to putting the devices in vehicles, but researchers argue that the U.S. would save $343 million in injury-related medical expenses, legal expenses, lost wages, and lost productivity if all cars had ignition interlocks. This would offset the cost of installing the devices. Of course, there are still privacy concerns associated with the proposal, but the research seems pretty definitive in regards to the lives that could be saved.
Requiring ignition interlocks in all cars is still a long way off, if it ever happens at all. Unless and until it does, it remains the personal responsibility of every driver to make a commitment to sobriety. Howell Law can help you to pursue a claim against drivers who hurt you by not living up to the responsibility to always be sober behind the wheel. Call a Charleston accident attorney today if you or someone you love was hurt in a DUI crash.