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Use of Devices to Deter Drunk Driving Gaining Support

April 27, 2006

Widespread use of ignition interlock devices to prevent drunk driving are gaining support. The devices, which won't allow a car to be started if a driver has had too much alcohol, not only have organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) as allies, but New York state legislators are considering requiring the devices on all cars and trucks by 2009, according to a USA Today report.Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, who also sponsored the bill that became the first law banning the use of handheld cell phones while driving, introduced the New York bill. Getting the bill passed may prove difficult for Ortiz since forcing every driver to pass a blood alcohol test to start a car would raise privacy concerns and possibly irritate non-drinkers, according to the USA Today. Manufacturers are still perfecting technology that could detect alcohol on the skin surface, which would eliminate the need for current breath-analyzing systems. The newer skin testing systems are expected to be around the same cost as breathalyzers -- about $1,000. Volvo and Saab, who are close to offering the devices as optional equipment on all of its models in Sweden, are also considering whether to bring the technology here.
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