Push grows for ignition interlock device expansion

The AAA recently announced that it is joining the National Transportation Safety Board in advocating for the expanded use of alcohol-ignition interlock devices.

Interlocks are most commonly installed on vehicles belonging to those who have been arrested for drunk driving. These devices can be installed on a car and prevent the engine from starting if a driver has alcohol on his or her breath. In addition to starting the car, some interlocks require continuous breath tests to keep the car running in order to assure that the driver is not drinking while driving.

Currently 17 states mandate the use of ignition interlock devices for all DUI offenders. Some states only mandate the use of interlocks for individuals who have multiple drunk driving convictions or those on probation.

The Distilled Spirits Council and the American Beverage Institute oppose the blanket mandate of interlock devices for all individuals. The trade organization fears that individuals will stop drinking at restaurants all together if these devices are imposed.

“We believe that judges should be able to distinguish between someone who is one sip over the limit and someone who has had nine drinks prior to driving,” a trade group spokeswoman said. “There should not be a one-size-fits-all penalty for DUI offenders.”

Source: Los Angeles Times, “AAA joins call for ignition devices for first-time drunk drivers,” Jerry Hirsch, Dec. 26, 2012

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