NTSB Calls for Alcohol Detection Systems to Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents

In 2011, more than 9,800 people were killed in alcohol-related car accidents.  The fact that close to 10,000 people are being killed every year in accidents caused by intoxicated drivers is alarming, and the National Transportation Safety Board is suggesting ways to stem those numbers.

The Board is suggesting a number of measures to reduce the risk of wrong way driving-related accidents, which are normally attributed to intoxicated motorists.  The Board specifically suggests that states implement ignition interlock laws for all DUI defenders, including first-time offenders.  The Board is also calling on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to speed up the development of an in-car alcohol detection system, and make sure that these systems are installed in all automobiles.

The in-car alcohol detection system works to detect the amount of alcohol on a person, through sensors and other devices, and prevents the car from starting if the alcohol content is above a predetermined limit.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently working with other interested parties on developing a device like this.

The Board also wants all states to implement ignition interlock laws that would require even persons convicted of first-time DUI offenses to have these devices installed in their vehicles.  These devices detect alcohol on the person’s breath, and shut down the ignition if alcohol is detected, preventing the motorist from driving.

The recommendations came in a report that the National Transportation Safety Board issued on wrong way-driving accidents.  According to the Board, about 60% of the fatal wrong way driving-related accidents which it investigated involved intoxicated motorists.  The Board also found that a strong proportion of wrong way drivers tended to be senior citizens, and the Board is recommending that the Federal Highway Administration work together with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to identify ways to minimize the involvement of senior motorists in such accidents.