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NTSB calls for ignition locks for all drunk drivers

American Beverage Institute balks, saying only the most serious offenders should be required to use them.

By Claire_Martin Dec 12, 2012 10:13AM
Bar photo by CherryletIn about one-third of U.S. states, if you're convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol, each time you get behind the wheel again, you're legally required to blow into an ignition interlock that tests your blood-alcohol level. Now, the National Transportation Safety Board is calling for all states to enact such legislation.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is among those applauding the recommendation, having called for these devices since 2006. But the American Beverage Institute, which advocates for moderate, responsible drinking, is balking at the NTSB's stance.

The group, which is concerned that alcoholic-beverage sales in restaurants will suffer, says that only the worst offenders -- those with repeat convictions and whose blood-alcohol content has been measured at 0.15 percent or higher -- should be required to use the ignition locks. Most states enforce a legal limit of 0.08 percent.
Those guidelines are similar to what the NTSB has endorsed in the past, but as part of an effort to help reduce collisions stemming from wrong-way driving, the agency amended its stance. The majority of wrong-way collisions involve alcohol.

The NTSB also recently called for states to step up their efforts at DUI-related data collection, including finding out where drunk drivers were served their last drink and reporting their blood-alcohol concentrations. It recommended the standardization of post-accident drug testing as well.

Earlier this year, a federal law was passed to provide $24 million in funding for the development of more advanced, in-car alcohol-detection technologies and provide grant money to states for promoting anti-drunk-driving laws.

If the ignition interlock devices were installed in all new vehicles regardless of drivers' DUI histories, 7,000 lives could be saved each year, according to the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety.

The American Beverage Institute, however, says the interlock devices would be overly intrusive and potentially fraught with hassles. It says there could be as many as 4,000 false positives each day if every vehicle had one.

But MADD insists the issue at hand is a simple matter of enforcing the law. “This has nothing to do with taking away an adult’s right to have a glass of beer at a [basketball] game,” J.T. Griffin of MADD told Bloomberg. “This is about drunk driving.”

[Source: Bloomberg, The New York Times; photo: Cherylett/Flickr]
Dec 12, 2012 10:47AM
I don't feel bad for those that died from driving while drunk but I do feel for those that were hit by a drunk driver and died or dies while being a passenger of a drunk driver. It is happening way too often.
  I believe that people deserve a second chance, anyone could have a bad day, drink a bit too much and drive but if you are doing it with any regularity you deserve to have to have this device in your car.
  My opinion is if it's a first offense, you get the DUI and have to go through all that is required by law for doing it. Get it a second time, you get the device, no excuses.
  Tough **** if the American Beverage Institute doesn't  like it, it's ridiculous to even take their thoughts into consideration. Are they the ones going through the trauma of losing a loved one? Are they the the officer and paramedic that has to see the results of this kind of action first hand all of the time? Are they raising a grand child because their daughter was killed by a drunk driver?

Dec 12, 2012 4:57PM

Many medicines can cause a driver to be just as impaired as a driver who has consumed alcohol.  Where's the ignition lock tool for that?

Dec 12, 2012 12:45PM

My First Wife And 2 Step Daughters Were Killed By A Drunk Driver With 4 Previous Convictions If They Had Ignition Interlocks They Would Still Be Alive Today / Arizona Already Requires That Any Conviction For DUI-DWI Now Requires An Ignition Interlock No Matter What Your Blood Alcohol Level / We Should Be Like Some European Contries That One Conviction For DUI You Lose Your Driving Priveledge For Life That Should Be The LAW!!!!!


Dec 12, 2012 12:41PM
For the first time ever, I agree with the NTSB. Make sure these ****s don't drive drunk. First place to institute it, Hollywood. The place where everybody can afford a cab, but nobody takes them because they're too stupid and would rather kill/hurt innocent people.
Dec 12, 2012 12:47PM
Way too easy to circumvent a system like this just have some one else blow in it. And now You have the defense of the car said it was okay to drive.
Dec 12, 2012 2:05PM
OK ... so when you take your car to the shop and the greasy mechanic is required to provide a breath sample to start your car?  I don't want to use any device after someone else has had their mouth on it.  What about rental cars?  
Dec 12, 2012 1:40PM

It's good to see NTSB now taken up on drunk driving rather doing bridge collapse investigations.  Last time they investigated the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, they clearly exonerated the state bridge engineer of responsible charge over the collapse and paved the way for him to get high profile private job that almost dwarfed his state salary with pension. He is now working for none other than the firm that is overseeing the design of the largest bridge ever to be designed and built in Minnesota for a cost of $ 700 Million whopping dollars, even after causing 13 deaths and 145 serious injuries to fellow minnesotans as a reward for  " incompetence in responsible charge " No one was held accountable other than a firm that designed the bridge nearly 50 years ago. Considering the severe weather conditions, harsh environment, increased traffic, with increased loading conditions it's a MIRACLE that it lasted for 40 some years!            

Dec 12, 2012 12:47PM
I don't know why not, it a crime to smoke tobacco, but is ok to drink all you want no matter the potential serious consequences it may have.
May 14, 2013 1:30PM
State protection creeping in further and further. If the speed limit were just dropped to 5mph there would be almost zero drunk driving cases. And, there should be a big difference between a left turn with a BAC of .19 and a head-on same BAC. Some of us can drink and drive competently, way better than texters or makeup appliers at 70mph.
Dec 18, 2012 7:15AM

With all of the information on the TV, magazines, billboards and other media warning against driving under the influence people who drive after drinking and their BAL is over the legal limit of .08 and they have been involved in an accident they should have their license suspended, their car impounded and be required to do community service work with victums of drunk driving accidents.

If they were not in an accident but just drove with a BAL over .08 they should have their car fitted with a Periodic Breath Analysizer that requires a puff of the drivers breath every 10 minutes inorder to keep the engine running. If he or she doesn't provide the required breath the car engine will shut off and not restart for another 10 minutes. Their cars should also be fitted with a recording camera linked to the PBA to keep a record of whether or not someone else breathed for them. While this may be a little expensive for the car owner it is reasonable punishment for willfully endangering someones life. And if they don't want to have it done, then they loose their license and their car is impounded until their license is reinstated.

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