A recent research material coming from the University of Michigan says 59, 000 lives could be saved over the course of 15 years, together with $343 million if drunk driving would be mitigated by technology that prevents the start of every US vehicle.
University of Michigan’s Injury Center and Transportation Research Institute claim the study’s findings show that the costs of having the ignition interlock technology into each car and truck in the US could be met within just three years thanks to the cost savings brought by the devices. “The sheer numbers of preventable fatalities and serious injuries were surprising,” commented Patrick Carter, an assistant professor in emergency medicine at U-M and the study’s author. According to the authors, their analysis could have a significant impact on “public health and societal cost savings” if the equipment becomes a standard in every new vehicle.
Ignition interlock technology has been around since the 1960s, with some states mandating the use of the devices in recent years when convicted drunk drivers are involved – the technology disallows the vehicle’s starting procedure if a certain amount of alcohol is detected in a driver’s breath. According to the most recent figures available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2013 a total of 10,076 deaths were related to drunk driving, down 23 percent form the previous decade.
The US transportation regulator, together with the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety, a group that has as members all major carmakers, started back in 2008 the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, aiming to research and build “a first-of-its-kind technology” that would use a “seamless” experience – biometric readings via fingerprint or infrared breath analysis to detect and stop drunk driving.