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NTSB: all states should have ignition interlock requirements

The National Transportation Safety Board is trying to reduce drunk driving car accidents by recommending that every state should have laws requiring convicted drunk drivers to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.

The NTSB recently released a recommendation that all states should required all drunk driving offenders, even first-time offenders, to use ignition interlock devices to prevent drunk driving accidents.

Ignition interlock devices are already a legal requirement in 17 states, including Colorado, but the NTSB wants all states to have the same requirements. They said that ignition interlock devices are the best way to reduce drunk driving accidents. The NTSB reported that drunk driving accidents cause roughly one-third of the nation's 32,000 fatal car accidents every year.

How do ignition interlock devices work? Ignition interlock devices work by having a driver blow into a breathalyzer mounted on the vehicle's dashboard. If the person's blood-alcohol concentration is greater than the device's programmed limit, the car's engine will not start. Most devices are programmed to not allow an engine to turn on if the person's BAC level is .02 or .04 or higher.

Safety advocates are pleased with the recommendations made by the NTSB. Safety advocates have been urging Congress to pass more laws that require ignition interlock devices for first-time offenders.

Drunk driving has continued to be a very serious issue in the U.S. Alcohol-impaired car accidents accounted for 31 percent of car accident fatalities in 2010. Despite laws making penalties more severe for drunk drivers, drunk driving accidents have stayed at roughly 30 percent of all fatal highway car accidents since 1995.

Source: US News, "NTSB: Use ignition locks for all drunken drivers," Joan Lowy, Dec. 11, 2012

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