Today, U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice announced that she will introduce legislation requiring all American automakers to equip new cars with ignition interlock device (IID) technology which detects a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) and prevents the engine from starting if the driver’s BAC is above the legal limit.
While laws vary across the states, ignition interlock devices are widely required for individuals who are convicted of Driving While Under the Influence. A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan found that requiring interlock technology in all new vehicles would, over a 15 year implementation period, prevent an estimated 85 percent of drunk driving-related deaths and 84-89 percent of drunk driving-related nonfatal injuries.
The study says that prveneting deaths and injuries resulting from DUI and other alcohol/drug related accidents would save an estimated $343 billion over 15 years. Additionally, the cost of installing the IID technology would be recovered in first 3 years of implementing the devices into cars. Finally, the study found that young drivers would benefit the most.
Representative Rice said the following about her legislation:
“Advancing the progress we’ve made combating drunk driving demands bold action. It demands that we take a stand and say we refuse to keep letting drunk drivers take 10,000 lives each year. We refuse to keep seeing families torn apart when we know we can do more to prevent it. Strict enforcement is important, holding drunk drivers accountable is important, but we can and must do more to stop drunk drivers from ever hitting the road in the first place. That’s why I’m working on legislation to require ignition interlock devices in all new cars. This technology saves lives, it saves money, and I’m going to fight to make it standard equipment in American cars.”
Representative Rice previously served as a Prosecutor of Nassau County, NY, where she received national acclaim for her efforts to combat drunk driving, securing Long Island’s first DWI-related murder convictions and helping to lead a statewide overhaul of New York’s DWI laws. Rice was dubbed by the New York Daily News as “the state’s toughest DWI prosecutor,” and recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).