A study conducted by the American Journal of Public Health concluded that sobriety-screening systems, if introduced in the next 15 years, in the new cars could avoid more than 1.25 million non-fatal injuries, 59.000 fatalities and over $340 billion in injury-related costs.
Lead author Dr. Patrick Carter, an emergency physician with the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, believes that “alcohol interlocks are used very effectively in all 50 states as a component of sentencing or as a condition for having a license reinstated after DUIs, but this only works for the drunk drivers caught by police”.
According to research, most drunk drivers are stopped for a DUI after approximately 80 journeys under the influence. Dr. Carter wants the interlock system to be compulsory for new cars, as the effort made by the driver is very small, but the benefits would be huge: a significant reduction of fatalities and injuries in traffic.
Carter and other researchers used U.S. data of traffic accidents and fatalities to understand how many involved drunk driving. After that, they estimated how many incidents could be avoided if new cars had alcohol-interlock devices, which detect blood-alcohol levels and if the driver scores above a certain point it prevents the starting of the car.
They calculated that it would take about 15 years for old vehicles to be replaced with new cars, but in this period interlocks may eliminate around $343 billion in costs from fatalities and injuries in connection to drunk driving.
Then, they estimated the numbers of deaths and injuries that could be prevented in the first year that all new cars sold had screening systems, and assumed it would take 15 years for older models to be replaced with new vehicles. According to the study, the interlock would pay for itself after three years.
Another device, called the driver alcohol detection system for safety, or DADSS, is being developed. It would prevent the car from starting if the blood alcohol level of the driver is above the legal limit of 0.08. Compared to traditional interlocks, which require the driver to blow into a device, the new gadget will determine seamlessly if the driver is under the influence in under half a second with only a touch of the fingertips. Scientists believe that it would take years for the new technology to be implemented.
Image Source: Ignition Interlock Help