The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released its “model guideline for state ignition interlock programs,” which recommends that first-time drunk driving offenders be required to install an ignition interlock in their car.
These devices prevent drivers who have been drinking from starting their car, and each state has its own laws regarding ignition interlock systems. For uniformity in punishment, NHTSA wants to see the entire country adopt the same set of standards. With an ignition interlock installed, drivers are 75 percent less likely to repeat their behavior.
Only 20 states currently require ignition interlocks for all drivers convicted of drunk driving, while other states such as Michigan only require the devices for certain repeat offenders or those found with high blood alchohol levels.
Drunk driving related crashes increased by 4.6 percent last year, taking 10,322 lives in total. “I urge the states to adopt our new guidelines to protect sober motorists and ensure that individuals convicted of drunk driving learn from their mistakes,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.