Government Turns to Technology to Combat Drunken Driving

The US Government and auto safety groups praised technology that prevents a drunken driver from starting a vehicle, which could potentially greatly reduce alcohol-related deaths, at a a meeting yesterday led by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Currently, the criminal justice system has not widely embraced alcohol ignition interlock devices because of long-standing questions about their cost and effectiveness, although New Mexico, Arizona, Louisiana, and Illinois have passed laws to require the use of the interlock devices for first-time offenders. These devices require drivers to blow into an instrument that measures alcohol. A vehicle will not start unless the driver's blood alcohol concentration is below a set level. According to Nicole Nason, chief of the NHTSA, "[the interlock devices] are not that easy to defeat but there is a perception out there that they are."

Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said preventing people with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 and higher from driving could save an estimated 9,000 lives per year. About 1.4 million people are arrested for drunken driving each year in the US, with over 13,000 annual fatalities, but only about 100,000 interlock devices are in use. "We are really working on a vaccine for drunk driving. Not on the drunk, but on the vehicle," said Chuck Hurley, chief executive officer of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

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whats the current punishment for drink driving in the US ?

make it tough enough, no one will be stupid enough

BGM said,
whats the current punishment for drink driving in the US ?

make it tough enough, no one will be stupid enough :D

It's quite tough but it varies from state to state. However, people still don't care and think they can get away with it.

They can praise this technology all they want, but it does no good unless you enforce the installation.

A recent television report noted several states are currently having courts demand the installation of these devices but all of them leave it to the integrity of the guilty party to take their vehicle in and have the device installed. And, no one checks on whether it has been installed and/or punishes the person for not having the installation done.

Now, if the car were impounded and held until the result of the court appearance, the device could be installed prior to its release. But then, one could only sell it and buy another car or always use their 'other' car.

The only way is to make it a law: Drunk driving, you lose the vehicle.

These devices require drivers to blow into an instrument that measures alcohol. A vehicle will not start unless the driver's blood alcohol concentration is below a set level

Yes, because everybody knows a measure of alcohol on the breath is an adequate indicator as to the blood alcohol concentration, otherwise why would you get a blood test when you're nicked?
Gargle a shot of JD (your only one), blow into the device and see how much you can't start the car. At that moment, the breath alcohol content is massive, but your blood alcohol content is nil / negligable.

I don't see how that system would work :S

Greatest news, not in USA, here was.. about half a month ago when blind and drunk moron went with it's sober friend for a spin.
His friend told him where to turn and the Master of All Stupidity drove... as You can guess.. not a really straight line.
Of course they got caught and nobody got killed, but don't say

what sober person would let a drunkard drive for them?
ok ?

Being sober actually doesn't make You a normal person. x) Idiots are idiots...

Great as it sounds, the fact is says government makes me concerned.

Will your car start if you vote democrat instead of republican (example as this is the US gov run by republicans right now)? How about if you don't like the gov? Maybe you work for a newspaper/blog and write against the gov?

SimpleRules said,
Great as it sounds, the fact is says government makes me concerned.

Will your car start if you vote democrat instead of republican (example as this is the US gov run by republicans right now)? How about if you don't like the gov? Maybe you work for a newspaper/blog and write against the gov?

That's called slippery slope, you know. Next thing you're going to mention is the remote-controlled chips implanted in our brains. I know I know that's slippery slope too

The simple reality is that people are idiots and shouldn't be trusted to drive. Therefore the best way to prevent accidents is to automate all vehicles on the roads - this could lead to faster, safer journeys with a near zero incident rate. Drunks are only a tiny, but significant, part of the problem.

Now if they could come up with a way to stop the car from starting for all the other IDIOTS out there.
Seems it only gets worse every year, more and more people who cant drive a nail in the ground, let alone a car.

This has been tried... you just have your buddy blow into it...

I suppose you could also fill a balloon before you goto the bar, and then let it loose into the unit before you drive..

Yeah, but by that logic, what sober person would let a drunkard drive for them? If I happened to be the sober one, I'd be the one driving that vehicle.

Napalm Frog said,
Yeah, but by that logic, what sober person would let a drunkard drive for them? If I happened to be the sober one, I'd be the one driving that vehicle.

Who said the sober person would be travelling in the car? They could just blow into it and then the drunk person could be on their way.

Yep, you guys are right. No need for your buddy or another sober individual to blow into the balloon. Maybe the individuals themselves will blow into their own balloon and save their own breath, way before they plan on getting drunk. :P

I get what your saying about getting someone else to blow into it for them to get it to start, but I wonder does that make them liable? I know handing a drunk guy a gun (if he hurts someone or himself) can get you in a world of trouble, because it's been in the local news before.

Btw, I still think this isn't going to work, I just wonder about the above mentioned question.

Edit: PS and the balloon thing would prove intent on driving drunk. No more accident defense?

You have to "hum" when blowing. A balloon will not work. Also, you have to blow in it after 5 minutes and then every 30 minutes. I know from experience.