Parking the drunken drivers

Requiring ignition locks for all first-time DUI offenders a good idea
Jan. 03, 2013 @ 11:15 PM

In Tennessee a person convicted of driving under the influence could receive, as part of his sentence, a court-ordered ignition lock installed in his vehicle. The device is connected to the vehicle’s ignition system. Prior to starting the vehicle, the offender submits a breath sample into the device. If the device detects a breath alcohol content that is above a pre-set limit, the device prevents the vehicle from starting.

It’s time to see similar laws enacted throughout the country. It won’t prevent DUIs; those determined to drive under the influence will find a way to do it, since they know it’s already against the law and downright irresponsible to drive that way. But it will maker a difference. AAA has announced its support of ignition interlocks for all convicted DUI offenders.

According to the 2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than nine in 10 drivers consider it a serious threat to their personal safety when others drink and drive, and nearly all surveyed find it unacceptable for a driver to get behind the wheel when they have had too much to drink. To prevent these dangers, nearly eight in 10 Americans support requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted DUI offenders, even if it’s their first conviction, AAA says.

AAA cites research showing ignition interlock devices (IIDs) as a proven way to save lives. AAA recommends a law to require the use of IIDs for all convicted offenders, not just select ones.

This is a law that should be enacted around the country. yes, it will be expensive for counties to stick the devices, but what price do you place on the lives and families affected by the senseless and selfish acts of drunken drivers?

The National Transportation Safety Board supports laws requiring IID use for all first-time DUI offenders. “I commend AAA for stepping up for safety,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman. “Technologies, such as ignition interlocks, will reduce alcohol-related crashes on our nation’s roadways. We look forward to working alongside AAA and its clubs to eliminate the nation’s top killer on our roadways – impaired driving.”

Let’s hope our state legislators agree as they gather in a new session next week.