According to a recent story in The New York Times, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is set to announce a new campaign to change drunken driving laws in 49 states to require that even first offenders install an ignition lock device that tests drivers and shuts down the car if it detects alcohol. Many states already require the devices for people who have been convicted of drunk driving several times.
Last year, New Mexico became the first state to make them mandatory after the first offense. With that tactic and others, the state saw an 11.3 percent drop in alcohol-related fatalities last year.Officials say interlocks for first offenders are not a panacea but will reduce repeat offenses. They say the next step will be a program to develop devices to unobtrusively test every driver for alcohol and disable the vehicle. The automaker Saab and a medical equipment company already have devices that may be adapted for that very goal.
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