Mandating in-Car Alcohol Testing Devices Could Reduce DUI Accidents

If in-car devices that act to shut down the car if a person has a high alcohol concentration in the system, are mandated in all automobiles that are sold in the United States, there would be a significant reduction in the number of alcohol-related accidents and DUI rates in the country.

According to a new analysis that was published recently in the American Journal of Public Health, mandating such devices on all cars could actually help prevent more than 59,000 deaths over a period of 15 years. It could also help prevent as many as 1.25 million nonfatal injuries, and save more than $300 billion in injury-related costs.

The researchers went through US car accident fatality data, and determined how many of these accidents were caused by drunk driving. They then analyzed how many of these accidents could have been prevented if all cars came with in-car breathalyzer devices that would measure the amount of alcohol in the person’s system before allowing him to operate a vehicle. They found that there would be staggering declines in alcohol-related fatalities, if such devices were mandated in all cars.

They also believe that a system like this is not very expensive to implement. Considering that one device costs about $400 to install each car, and assuming that the device is 100% accurate, then the system is likely pay for itself in injury-related cost savings.

The in-car alcohol screening devices that researchers are considering are not breathalyzer devices that require the person to breathe into the device to measure alcohol content. These are seamless devices that simply use infrared light to measure alcohol concentration. The test takes just barely half a second, and the results are instantaneous.