How to Stop Drunk Drivers

Parade Magazine, Page 6

Drunk drivers kill about 13,000 Americans each year and injure hundreds of thousands more. Now, California and Wisconsin are considering new laws that would require people convicted of drunk driving to use a technology called an ignition interlock. Drivers blow into a device that measures blood-alcohol content. If the level is too high, the car will not start. Fourteen states already routinely use the technology, which experts say can reduce subsequent drunk-driving offenses by up to 64%.

Critics say that manufacturers of the devices–for which convicted drunk drivers must pay up to $110 a month–have aggressively lobbied to make the units mandatory to increase profits. But law-enforcement officials say ignition interlocks work. “When the device is on, you see a decrease in repeat offenders,” says Barbara Lauer of Florida’s Department of Motor Vehicles. “Once it’s off, the numbers go right back up.”

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