All New Vehicles to Have Ignition Interlock Devices?

U.S. Rep Announces New Legislation

U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice announced recently that it is her intention to introduce legislation that makes it mandatory for all new vehicles to come equipped with ignition interlock technology. The goal, Rice explains, is to eliminate drunk driving completely from the nation’s future.

This comes in the wake of a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan addressing the issue of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) and drunk driving. According to the study results, if all new vehicles were to be built complete with IIDs, over a period of fifteen years we would be able to eliminate as much as 85% of drunk driving related deaths, and almost 90% of non-fatal drunk driving injuries.

And that’s not all. In addition to the number of lives saved, and the many people who would no longer be subjected to the pain and suffering of drunk driving injuries, there’s the issue of money. A vast amount of money is spent annually by local law enforcement agencies, courts, and medical institutions investigating, prosecuting and handling the aftermath of these drunk driving incidents.

Apparently, by reducing the number of deaths and injuries over the next fifteen years, approximately  $343 billion would be saved. That’s a lot of money. But what would it cost, you may be wondering? Is it worth it, financially? Apparently, yes. According to the study, the cost of the installation would be recouped within the first three years.

Interestingly, the age group who would benefit the most is younger drivers. Results from the study reveal that, during that same first fifteen year period, an average of 481,103 deaths and nonfatal injuries could be prevented among drivers aged 21 to 29. When you think about it, that is a huge number of lives preserved. But not everyone agrees.

For some people, this is just another example of the “nanny” government stepping in to make choices for people where they should be left alone to choose for themselves. Several people have already spoken out against this new measure, saying that it infringes on their rights and personal liberties. And like all proposed legislation, it has adamant supporters and vehement detractors.

But with technological advancements happening at the current rate, perhaps all of this is a moot point. The University of Michigan, who just so happens to be the source of the Ignition Interlock Device study, has also just opened a new testing facility for autonomous vehicle testing.

According to numerous media sites that have been following this growing interest in autonomous vehicles (AVs), it is very likely that during our lifetimes, AVs will become so commonplace on our roads, that they may well displace human-driven cars. But that remains to be seen. And so does the IID legislation. Sound interesting? We’ll keep you posted as new information becomes available.

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