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Will Tennessee adopt strict DUI ignition interlock rule?

The NTSB recently studied what are some of the nation's most dangerous accidents: wrong-way crashes. Research shows that sort of accident is the most likely to be fatal. Also, wrong-way accidents are often the result of drunk drivers. Specifically, the NTSB reports that almost 70 percent of such accidents are DUI-related.

Combating the trend of wrong-way collisions in this country, therefore, is the NTSB's traffic safety goal. Since research says that drunk driving is so commonly a contributor to the wrecks, the group has a legislative suggestion for every state in the U.S.: require all first time DUI offenders to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles.

The NTSB recently joined together to study what are some of the nation's most dangerous accidents: wrong-way crashes. Research shows that sort of accident is the most likely to be fatal. Also, wrong-way accidents are often the result of drunk drivers. Specifically, the NTSB reports that almost 70 percent of such accidents are DUI-related.

Combating the trend of wrong-way collisions in this country, therefore, is the NTSB's traffic safety goal. Since research says that drunk driving is so commonly a contributor to the wrecks, the group has a legislative suggestion for every state in the U.S.: require all first-time convicted DUI offenders to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles.

Ignition interlock devices detect alcohol in a driver's system before he is allowed to start his vehicle. Seventeen states already mandate that first-time offenders use a device after conviction. Tennessee is not yet on the list of states that is so harsh on first-offense DUI cases. The NTSB's encouragement regarding stricter ignition interlock requirements is directed at states like ours.

A point of debate regarding this proposal is whether it is right to treat all DUI offenders the same. Should a first-time offender whose BAC level was barely above the legal limit be punished in the same way as a repeat offender with a level twice the legal limit?

Also, it is valid to question the credibility of the device. Breathalyzers have been found to be faulty in numerous drunk driving cases. Who can say that ignition interlock devices won't falsely indicate that someone's been drinking? Driving isn't just for fun; it is how people get to work to support their families. Technological errors could have a serious impact on the life of someone who is simply trying to get by.

How do you feel about this legal matter?

Source: Associated Press, "NTSB recommends all states require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers," Joan Lowy, Dec. 11, 2012

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