One of the most destructive things on any road is drunk driving, both to cars and to the people who drive them. With laws stepping up to deal with the problem, engineers and tech experts have stepped up to help increase awareness of the devastating impact alcohol has on U.S. roads. Among their initiatives, they have created several devices capable of preventing drunk drivers from starting their car and hitting the streets. The introduction of more laws that empower law enforcement to employ them is increasing the popularity of such devices.
Interlock devices are fast becoming a tried, tested and trustworthy way of stopping people from operating their cars after a drink or two. Well regarded by insurance companies such as Can Can Cover as an effective means of preventing alcohol-related accidents, thus lowering insurance premiums, these fitments are increasingly being installed in cars. Prior to a vehicle starting, the driver must breathe into the device; if the programmed blood alcohol concentration threshold is exceeded, the engine is prevented from turning on.
The interlock system requires additional breath samples as the car is driven. To stop more sober friends from breathing into the device, it will repeat the test at regular intervals. If a driver refuses to provide a breathe sample, or if the sample exceeds the threshold, the device will record the event and warn the driver. It then proceeds to engage an alarm that alerts others (i.e. law enforcement), and that cannot be disarmed, until the ignition of the car is turned off. Interlock devices are not programmed to turn off a car’s engine, given that it could be extremely dangerous.
The benefits of the technology have not been overlooked. Right now, the state of California is piloting ignition equipment in the counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare, where first-time offenders are told to use interlock devices. 15 other states require everyone convicted of drunk driving to install an interlock device for a fixed duration of time. A further 22 states demand that the device be permanently fitted in the cars of repeat offenders.
This common sense approach to law enforcement could be rolled out nationwide in the coming years, so consider the implications — both in regards to safety and to the access of your car — of drinking and driving.