Ignition interlock devices are a mechanism that is installed into a vehicle to measure a person’s breath-alcohol concentration and evaluate if they are safe to drive. If a person measures over the legal limit, the vehicle will not start. Interlock devices are commonly installed into vehicles of repeat drink driving offenders. Drink driving is a factor in approximately one in five fatal crashes. Many people who drink drive continue to offend. A significant proportion of those caught while driving under the influence have a previous drink driving conviction. Interlock devices stops those who are at risk of re-offending from driving while intoxicated and putting themselves and other people on the road at risk.
Interlock devices are commonly fitted to a vehicle due to a court imposed order. Not all drivers who are convicted of drink driving will have the opportunity to have one of these devices fitted. These devices are considered an effective risk reduction tool as well as a rehabilitative item. Most people who have these items in their vehicle will be deterred from getting behind the wheel and will make appropriate steps to alter their behavior. The Transport Research Board research suggests that repeat offenders were more likely to oblige and benefit by having an ignition interlock system in their car than from other deterrents like license revoking or incarceration.
Alcohol is a major cause of fatal accidents and accidental injury on the road. Alcohol has a range of effects that increase accident risk on reaction times, cognitive processing, coordination, vigilance, vision and hearing. The effects of alcohol impairment have been shown to begin at low blood alcohol levels. Alcohol is a depressant and it has been shown to slow brain function. This causes people to have problems responding quickly enough to situations, make decisions or react to dangers. It can also make people sleepy and fatigued. Research has shown that people who have consumed alcohol have a reduced ability to be able to judge how fast they are moving or the distance between themselves and other objects or people. This is especially dangerous when driving, as these skills are essential for knowing how to make safe decisions on the road.
Alcohol can also boost a person’s confidence, which in turn influences a person’s decision to drive and make them take greater risks. A person who is drunk may think that their driving is a lot better, safer and slower than it actually is. Alcohol has also been found to reduce concentration and coordination. The ability to shift gears, use indicators, look in side and back mirrors become more difficult when more alcohol is consumed. With the amount of distractions both inside a vehicle and outside a vehicle, this could cause someone to not see a pedestrian, not use their indicator, run a red light or merge into another vehicle.
An alcohol interlock device is primarily a deterrent for a person who is considering drink driving. The item is designed to protect the health and safety of the driver and others on the road including pedestrians, motorcyclists, cyclists and passengers. Problem drinkers or those who suffer from alcoholism may not consider their actions and the consequences of their actions on others. Although a person may feel that they are not intoxicated or affected by alcohol, their reaction times, thought processing and risk taking behavior changes with the presence of alcohol in their body. An alcohol interlock device takes the decision to drive or not to drive out of the person’s hands.
The alcohol interlock is also designed to randomly require the driver to submit a breath sample for evaluation. This is a preventative to stop another person in the vehicle breathing into the device and allowing the intoxicated person to drive. If a sample is not provided or the sample exceeds the devices blood alcohol limit, an alarm will be set off and will continue until the ignition is turned off or a clean, sample is provided.
Drink driving is a factor in up for 20 percent of all fatal crashes. The World Health Organization estimates that road traffic accidents are among the top three causes of death for people aged between 5 and 44 years of age. Worldwide, 90 percent of all countries have national laws prohibiting driving when under the influence. Road accidents can cause serious injuries, including death of the driver and others. It also causes destruction of property. They cause millions of dollars in lost revenue, costs to health departments and property damage. At the same time, the social cost of road accidents is significant and includes suffering, grief, physical and psychological pain, affecting families and jobs.
Road traffic accidents cause victim-related costs such as medical, funeral or lost labor costs, as well as pain, suffering and grief. Serious injury as a result of a traffic accident can mean that individuals and families have to fund long-term rehabilitation and medical costs. Ongoing psychotherapy may be required if the person is suffering from trauma. There can also be significant changes to employment, loss of work or job loss as a result of an accident. The risk of these costs can be significantly less if a person does not drive when they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
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