NTSB Recommends Ignition Interlock Devices For First-Time OWI Convicts

The National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday every state should require convicted drunk drivers to use ignition-interlock devices – even first-time offenders.

The devices require a driver to take a breath test to confirm they have not been drinking and are OK to drive. The devices are already required with any drunk driving conviction in 17 states, Wisconsin is not one of them, and many proponents say they are the best solution to combating drinking and driving. The board also recommended continued research and testing into additional systems that may help determine a driver’s blood alcohol level when they try to start a vehicle.

The unanimous recommendation comes after an analysis conducted by the NTSB on wrong-way driving accidents. The board looked at data from more than 1500 crashes between 2004 and 2009 in addition to nine wrong-way accidents the NTSB investigated. In more than half of the accidents, wrong-way drivers had blood-alcohol levels higher than the allowed limit in the state.

Alcohol-impaired crashes accounted for more than 30 percent of traffic fatalities in 2010.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, in 2010 of the 562 people killed in traffic accidents, 39 percent died in alcohol-related crashes and 16 percent died in speed and alcohol-related crashes.

Some Wisconsin lawmakers are introducing new bills that if passed, would increase penalties for drunk drivers, especially for repeat offenders with three or more offenses.

If you or your loved one has suffered personal injury in any type of motor vehicle accident, call today to discuss your situation with an experienced personal injury attorney.

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