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Thinking of drinking and driving? What if your car won't let you?

March 24, 2015

Researchers look at the societal payoff associated with installing alcohol ignition interlock devices in all new cars as a primary injury prevention policy

If every new car made in the United States had a built-in blood alcohol level tester that prevented impaired drivers from driving the vehicle, how many lives could be saved, injuries prevented, and injury-related dollars left unspent?

Researchers at the University of Michigan Injury Center and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute studied the impact of installing these alcohol ignition interlock devices in all newly purchased vehicles over a 15-year period; their estimates of injury prevention and cost savings are significant.

They concluded that the country could avoid 85 percent of crash deaths attributable to alcohol-involved motor vehicle crashes during the 15-year implementation period. That would mean preventing more than 59,000 deaths, the team reports in a paper published online in the American Journal of Public Health.

Read the UMHS press release.