Getting Drunks off the Road

08.03.10 | Dr. Stephen Coleman | Comments[1]

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As of August 15th, ignition interlock devices will be required in the vehicles of all New Yorkers convicted of drunk driving. Drivers will have to blow into the device. If they are intoxicated the vehicle will not start. Most people think this is a good idea because it will keep drunk drivers off the streets and increase safety on the roads.

On the other hand, lots of people oppose a mandatory requirement for ignition interlock devices in all cars and trucks sold in New York and Pennsylvania because it would be too expensive and — therefore unfair — to those who drive responsibly.

That said, the vast majority of people who drive drunk elude the police and are never arrested or convicted. Therefore, what we need is a cost effective technology in all vehicles to prevent drunks from driving.

Well, some good news. In the months ahead, Congress will be considering legislation that will provide millions of dollars to fund the development of a new low cost technology that will keep drunks from driving. It would involve having sensors in or on possible places like the seats of a car or the steering wheel. These sensors will be sensitive enough to measure the level of alcohol in a person’s blood. If an individual is intoxicated, the car will not start.

I urge Congress to pass this legislation. The sooner we have cheap technology to keep all drunks off the road the better.

cc-wetm - tv- Dr. Coleman also airs commentaries and a public affairs program on WETM 18 Elmira. For more information on these programs, go to


Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 08.08.10 Kathy Rowe commented

My niece was killed by a drunk driver 13years ago. She was only fifteen when she died.

I am all for this new technology to prevent drunk drivers. My questions though is, if a person is drunk what if they got someone else to blow into the device that was sober? There are probably ways that they would find to get away or manipulate the device and still drink and drive.

To prevent drunk driving, I would like to see more free taxi cabs at bars and places where people have been drinking, perhaps sporting events.