People who are familiar with alcohol ignition locks on their vehicles probably know someone who has received a DUI or have received one themselves. In essence, these devices only allow a vehicle to be started after the driver has proved that they are not intoxicated. Using a breathalyzer wired to the ignition, these locks prevent thousands of accidents each year. Nevertheless, they are typically only installed on cars belonging to repeat offenders or drivers under some form of probation.
What if Alcohol Ignition Locks Were Universal?
Recently, researchers at the University of Michigan Injury Center and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute looked into the possible effects and return of installing alcohol ignition lock devices in every single newly purchased vehicle over a 15-year period. The results of this study were significant and difficult to ignore.
These studies found that the United States alone could avoid up to 85% of all motor vehicle crash deaths that involve alcohol. That means almost 60,000 deaths could be prevented, as well as another 1.25 million non-fatal injuries. And when it comes to the bottom line, the installation of these devices would be paid off in just a matter of 3 years, as over 343 billion would be saved as a result.
“We knew our modeling would yield significant results, but the sheer numbers of preventable fatalities and serious injuries were surprising. Our analysis clearly demonstrates the significant public health benefit and societal cost savings associated with including alcohol ignition interlock devices as standard equipment in all new cars,” says lead-author Patrick Carter, M.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the U-M Medical School and core faculty at the U-Michigan Injury Center.
Our Youth Would Benefit the Most
But it doesn’t take a college researcher to know that implementing these devices on every new vehicle would benefit our youth culture the most. Those closest to the legal drinking age are the ones who are to be the most impacted if this were to go into effect.
Almost half a million deaths and injuries due to alcohol-related motor vehicles involve young people ages 21-29, attributing to 35% of the total. Even drivers under the age of 21 would benefit substantially, with over 190,000 deaths and injuries being prevented annually.
What Do You Think?
Even though it may be just a study, what are your thoughts on installing alcohol ignition locks on every vehicle? Is removing the benefit of the doubt that someone would drive intoxicated too much? Or would you be willing to submit to it for the sake of those who would shirk their responsibility to drive sober? Let us know!