Daily, nearly 30 individuals in the US lose their lives in an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident. But with respect to a new research, launching alcohol interlock devices to all new motor vehicles could reduce over 80% of these accidents.
In accordance to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 10,322 individuals in the US were wiped out in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents in 2012, accounting for over 30% of all motor vehicle deaths.
More than 1,100 of these deaths involved children aged 14 and under, and 20% of these cases involved a driver who was under the influence of alcohol.
In most US states, individuals who are charged of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol are usually needed to get an alcohol interlock device, also regarded as an ignition interlock device, installed in their vehicle to be able to avoid them from further participating in drunk driving.
An ignition interlock device is a device installed in a vehicle’s dashboard. It works like a breath analyzer, in that the driver must breathe into the system for it to evaluate their blood alcohol content (BAC). If the driver’s BAC is over the legal limit – which differs by state – the vehicle will not begin.
“Interlocks are extremely effective while set up on the vehicle,” note the scientists, which includes Dr. Patrick Carter of the University of Michigan Injury Center, “with a step-by-step review finding a 67% median decrease in DWI (driving while intoxicated) recidivism.”
For their research, the outcomes of which are presented in the American Journal of Public Health, Dr. Carter and co-workers set out to approximate the number of alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents and deaths could be prevented over the next 15 years if interlock devices were set up in all new vehicles.
Universal set up of ignition interlock device ‘could save 60,000 lives in 15 years’
Using information from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the National Automotive Sampling System’s General Estimates System, the team evaluated the nonfatal accidents and deaths that happened as an outcome of alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents between 2006 and 2010.
The investigators then approximated the effect universal installation of interlock devices in all newly built vehicles would have on nonfatal accidents and fatalities over the next 15 years, along with the effect it would have on injury-related costs.
The research outcomes suggest that 85% of alcohol-associated motor vehicle deaths and 84-88% of nonfatal accidents in the US could be avoided over a 15-year period via installation of interlock devices in all new vehicles. This leads to about 60k lives saved and about 1.25 million nonfatal alcohol-related vehicle accidents avoided, with respect to the researchers.
The team approximated that universal installation of interlock devices for drivers aged 21-29 – who are regarded to be at greatest risk for alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents – would pose the greatest advantage, accounting for about 35% of all prevented deaths and nonfatal injuries.
What is more, the investigators identified that launching interlock device to all newly built automobiles would save about $343 billion in accidental injury costs over a 15-year period. While it would cost about $400 to set up each device, the investigators calculate that the cost savings to society would outweigh the cost of device setting up within 3 years.
Talking about the outcomes, Dr. Carter stated:
“We knew our modeling would produce considerable outcomes, but the sheer numbers of preventable fatalities and serious injuries were surprising.
Our research certainly shows the important public health advantage and societal cost savings connected with including alcohol ignition interlock devices as standard devices in all new cars.”
The team’s results are subject to some restrictions. Dr. Carter told that the team’s estimations were dependent on an interlock device being installed in every new vehicle and the alcohol restriction of the device being set to 0.02 grams per deciliter (g/dL). Presently, some devices are setup to 0.04 g/dL.
Adding to above statement Dr. Carter told said, While the regular use of alcohol interlocks in all new vehicles is one option for the prevention of drinking and driving, policy makers, car companies and the public will require to best identify how such technology can best be optimally deployed. Our study does show the possible opportunity for injury prevention and cost savings with widespread use throughout all vehicles.