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In-car breathalyzers taking the place of license suspension

Technology might change the way local governments deal with drunken drivers. One method is being considered on state Senate and House floors throughout the country. 

WCPO news anchor Brian Yocono reported, "A bill has been introduced in Ohio that would require a first time offender to have to drive with an interlock breathalyzer device on their own car." (Via WCPO)

In Indiana, lawmakers just passed a new law that will make the device available to people convicted of drunk driving right away. Previously, those convicted had to earn the ability to use it.

WTHR, reporting on a case involving 29-year-old Alissa Brown: "The drunk driver who hit Brown, went to jail and lost his license for life."

When interviewed, Brown stated, "I thought, well that's stupid, he's going to drive anyway."

"That's why Brown said she's in favor a new law that would make ignition interlock devices more widespread." (Via WTHR)

The device in question is the ignition interlock device, which functions like a breathalyzer. If the driver blows anything above the preset blood alcohol content, the car won't start. (Via LifeSafer)

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, more than 20 states require ignition interlocks for all DUI offenders. 

There are even two states, Oregon and Connecticut, that require DUI offenders who are placed on a diversion program to install the device in their cars. 

And the stats we have suggest the device is effective. According to a study by the CDC, re-arrest rates for alcohol-impaired driving decrease by 67 percent when in-car breathalyzers are used.

And though MADD and the CDC are strong supporters of the widespread use of the device, there are those who say lawmakers are going overboard. 

The loudest voice is the American Beverage Institute, which disagrees with states that force first time offenders to install ignition interlock, citing the fact that repeat offenders cause the vast majority of alcohol-related fatalities.

Also some lawmakers in Oregon are trying to scale back the state's Ignition Interlock law, which forces everyone on diversion programs to install the devices. They hope to leave that decision for judges to make instead. (Via The Oregonian)

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, states that require all convicted drunk drivers to use an ignition interlock cut DUI deaths by more than 30 percent.
  

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