In the first phase of the plan, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, backed by a national association of state highway officials and car manufacturers, will announce here on Monday a campaign to change drunken driving laws in 49 states to require that even first offenders install a device that tests drivers and shuts down the car if it detects alcohol.Sounds good to me.
Many states already require the devices, known as ignition interlocks, for people who have been convicted several times. Last year New Mexico became the first to make them mandatory after a first offense. With that tactic and others, the state saw an 11.3 percent drop in alcohol-related fatalities last year.
Statistics show that about 13,000 people die each year in car crashes in which a driver was legally drunk.
He also supports unobtrusive alcohol sensing in all cars. “When 40 percent of all our crashes are alcohol-involved,” he said, “I don’t think it’s going to be that difficult of a sell.”
A New Mexico company, TruTouch Technologies, is modifying a technique developed for measuring blood chemistry in diabetics and using it to measure alcohol instead. The appliance shines a light through the skin on the forearm and analyzes what bounces back.
Future devices may read alcohol content when a driver’s palm touches the steering wheel or the gear shift lever, said Jim McNally, the chief executive of TruTouch.
With 13,000 people dying annually from drunk drivers it makes me wonder why we spend so much time, money and effort on the war on drugs and the war on terrorism, when more lives could be saved if we were to just focus on decreasing drunk driving accidents.
via NY Times