The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Tuesday put out a statement recommending that ignition interlock systems be mandated for all first time DUI offenders.  Ingnition interlock devices have proven effective in preventing offenders from driving while intoxicated.  The alcohol monitor system involves a breathalyzer-like device that is installed into the vehicle and which must be used before starting and periodically after driving for so much time.

17 states already require the ignition interlock system to be installed in vehicles after the first DUI offense, but the NTSB is recommending that all 50 states adopt a similar policy.  In Colorado, the ignition interlock system is only mandated if the offender is convicted of a DUI violation and has a blood-alcohol content more than twice the legal limit (or .17). Those convicted of a DUI violation in Colorado can opt to have an ignition interlock system installed on a voluntary basis in order to reduce the amount of time that they have their license suspended and to enable them to be able to drive with a restricted license that only authorizes the offender to drive their own vehicle and only if it is equipped with the alcohol monitor system to prevent a recurring impaired driving situation.

DUI Checkpoint
Ignition interlock systems are designed to prevent drunken driving. (photo by 911 Bail Bonds Las Vegas)

The chairman of the NTSB, Deborah A.P. Hersman, was quoted as saying, “The first step to address the number one killer on our roadways is to do what is proven to be effective – use interlocks for all DWI offenders.”  The NTSB also endorsed the development of a less intrusive system which would be installed in cars, and which would provide an alcohol monitor system that would test drivers constantly through breath and touch sensors to make sure they are not driving under the influence.

“Technology is the game changer in reducing alcohol-related crashes on our nation’s roadways,” Hersman continued.   “Achieving zero alcohol-impaired driving-related deaths is possible only if society is willing to separate the impaired driver from the driving task.”  Improved technology is only one part of the solution, however.  Steps should also be taken to reduce the likelihood of impaired driving through education and alternative methods of transport such as buses, subway/train systems and other forms of alternative transport.