Ignition-Interlock Device: Can It Save People?


Framingham Hardship License Lawyer via Common Creative License

This interlocking ignition device, seen here, requires the driver to take a breathalyzer before being able to start the vehicle.

According to the National Highway-Traffic Safety Administration, about twenty-eight people die every day in drunk-driving crashes. That would be the loss of someone’s life every fifty-two minutes. Alcohol directly impairs a person’s reasoning, thinking, and muscle coordination. 

NHTSA recorded that about one-third of all traffic crashes involve a driver with a blood-alcohol content of 0.8 (the legal limit to operate a vehicle), or above. One factor leading to this, is the neglect that any drunk person has towards themselves. In most situations, a person heavily under the influence doesn’t want to hand over their keys. Most of the time, they will deny their impairment, saying things like, “I’m fine, I’m not that drunk,” or “Don’t worry, I have driven drunk before and been totally fine.” This type of talk is a major red-flag to anyone who wants to get behind the wheel. They are putting themselves and others on the road in danger.

Since everyone cannot trust to never get behind the wheel when drunk, the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety announced a possible solution.  It created  its breath-analyzing interlock, which can detect impaired drivers, will be available for use in commercial vehicles for the first time later this year. Essentially, this means that in order to start your vehicle, you must blow into a breathalyzer and show a BAC of below 0.8.

The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, or DADSS, proved that this could potentially save an estimated 9,400 lives. Citizens who already have DUI’s on their criminal record should be required to drive with one of these, to prevent them from making the same mistake another time.

Ignition interlock device (red arrow) in a Scania bus of German long-distance bus line Postbus (Spielvogel via Wikimedia Commons)

For several decades, the two leading causes of death in people ages 16-20 have been cancer and car accidents.  60% of teenagers in these accidents were reported to have alcohol in their system. The Ignition Interlock Device is essentially a lifesaver, where in order to start your vehicle, you must blow into a built-in breathalyzer to start your car and operate the vehicle. 

The Massachusetts RMV states that the average cost of an ignition interlock device would be around $125 for installment, along with an average of $85 a month for routine maintenance. 

But it’s worth every penny. Senior Thomas Desimore agrees, saying, “I believe this is a fantastic way to prevent drunk-driving accidents, especially in younger people. So many people get behind the wheel after a long night of drinking and partying, and this could potentially prevent thousands of accidents.”

All it takes is 5 seconds to blow into the device to ensure not only your safety but that of others on the road.