WTAP @ 5 To Your Health Report: DUI Prevention

By: Cheryl Castro
By: Cheryl Castro

Accidents involving drunk drivers account for thousands of deaths each year in the U.S.

Now new studies indicate a simple device is having good results in keeping convicted drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel drunk again.

Cheryl Castro reports in today's Health Minute.

Sometimes being convicted of drunk driving isn't enough to keep an offender from making the same mistake again. That's where devices like ignition interlocks can come in.

Installed in the vehicles of those convicted of dui or dwi, it checks the driver's breathe for alcohol before they start the engine.

The Centers for Disease Control says when the devices are installed in cars, re-arrest rates for the offense decreased by 67 percent.

The CDC is recommending more widespread use of interlocks and suggests that all offenders, even those convicted for the first time, be required to get them installed.

As of late last year, only 13 states required all convicted offenders, including those with a first conviction, to install ignition interlocks.

More than half of all states require those with multiple convictions to use them.

But less than 10 percent of the approximately 1.4 million people arrested for drunk driving actually drive with interlocks, because most choose to have their license suspended rather than use the device.

Researchers say dui offenders are 4 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident while intoxicated than other drivers. The research suggests widespread use of ignition interlocks could help reduce alcohol related crashes.

For today's Health Minute, I'm Cheryl Castro.

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