Itasca, IL – The National Safety Council today announced its support for the use of ignition interlock devices to reduce alcohol-impaired driving. Alcohol-impaired driving contributed to 12,998 deaths last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Representatives of NSC’s 50,000 member organizations adopted this policy statement recently at their annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif.:
The National Safety Council recognizes that ignition interlocks are proven effective in reducing drunk driving and encourages states to enact legislation to require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.
Ignition interlocks are small devices installed in vehicles that require a breath sample from the driver before the engine will start. If the device detects alcohol in the sample, the engine will not start. Research shows that currently available breath alcohol ignition interlock devices are 90 percent effective in keeping convicted drunk drivers from continuing to drive drunk. However, research also indicates that only one in eight convicted drunk drivers receives an interlock device and most of these are multiple offenders. Research citations for the policy are available on NSC's Website.
“NSC encourages states to enact ignition interlock laws for all first-time and multiple offenders. Six states already have such laws and we are encouraging all states to adopt similar legislation,” said Janet Froetscher, NSC President & CEO. “Drunk driving is the leading cause of death on our roadways. With this policy, NSC reiterates its support for science-based measures to reduce crashes, injuries and deaths.”
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) expressed support for the NSC policy. NSC is a partner in MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving.
“We applaud the leadership of the National Safety Council in its support of interlocks for convicted drunk drivers. We know thousands of lives could be saved each year if interlocks were mandated in every state to prevent repeat drunk driving offenses,” said MADD National President Laura Dean-Mooney.
The National Safety Council (nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.