It is well-known that drunk drivers are responsible for many drunk driving deaths in Montana each year. In fact, approximately 60 percent of wrong-way car accidents are a result of drunk drivers. The question then remains as to how to keep drunk drivers off of Montana's roadways for the safety of everyone else on the road.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has an idea: require ignition interlock devices to be installed on the vehicles of those people who have been convicted of drunk driving, even if they only have one drunk driving conviction.
An ignition interlock device prevents drivers from starting their ignition if they have alcohol on their breath that is above the legal limit. Generally speaking, a blood-alcohol content (BAC) over .08 is considered illegal.
Currently, only 17 states have mandatory interlock device laws for first-time offenders, but the NTSB wants to increase this number. Even in the states that do require them, the mandates are not necessarily enforced because it is expensive to do so, but the NTSB would like to encourage law enforcement officials to do so for everyone's safety.
This is because the NTSB believes that this relatively new technology is effective and can be a step towards addressing alcohol-related crashes, even though those numbers have fallen slightly in recent years.
Using an interlock device is at least one way to separate those individuals who have proven that they are willing to get behind the wheel while intoxicated from being able to drive and being involved in an alcohol-related crash.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Lock out drunk drivers? Bid includes 1st offenders 'a sip over limit," Jerry Hirsch, Dec. 11, 2012