NTSB: Require ignition locks for all drunk drivers
This photo taken Sept. 24, 2011, provided by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), shows a post accident view of the vehicles from the Fountain, Colo. wrong-way collision. / AP Photo/NTSB
WASHINGTON A federal safety board is recommending that all states require ignition interlock devices for convicted drunk drivers, including first-time offenders.
The five-member National Transportation Safety Board said the devices are currently the best available solution to reducing drunk driving deaths, which account for about a third of the nation's 32,000 traffic deaths each year.
In particular, the board cited a new study by its staff that found some 360 people a year are killed in wrong-way driving crashes on high-speed highways. The study concluded that 69 percent of wrong-way drivers had blood alcohol levels above the legal limit of .08.
The highlights from the findings: more than 80 percent of fatal wrong-way crashes involve high-speed head-on collisions; approximately 60 percent of wrong-way driving accidents involve alcohol; 78 percent of fatal wrong-way crashes occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.; 15 percent of wrong-way accidents are caused by drivers over 70; and a majority of wrong-way crashes occur in the fast lane.
Seventeen states already have laws requiring use of the device by all convicted drunk drivers.
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