NTSB Delivers Safety Report to Increase Safer, DUI-Free Driving
The five members of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently voted unanimously to make a bold move and set a goal of reducing drunk driving fatalities to zero in the US. Currently, every hour in this country, an individual dies from a motor vehicle accident involving too much alcohol and an additional 20 people are injured. This means annually 10,000 people die needlessly while 27,000 suffer results that cause debilitating medical conditions and 146,000 people suffer minor to moderate injuries.
The NTSB’s decision came on the heels of the 25th anniversary of the deadliest drunk driving accident in the US. The crash involved the deaths of three adults and 24 minors in Carrollton, KY. The NTSB issued a report detailing all the steps they feel are needed to reach their lofty goal of eliminating all drunk driving casualties.
Board Members Propose New Recommendations to Reduce DUI Fatalities
The NTSB’s report is a culmination of a year’s worth of research and analysis on the most effective strategies to reduce drunk driving accidents and deaths. The board came up with the following interventions to reach their goal:
- Decrease states’ legal blood alcohol limits to at least 0.05 from 0.08
- Utilize high-visibility enforcement more often, such as checkpoints
- Require car ignition interlocks that detect alcohol for all DUI offenders
- Create and use in-vehicle alcohol detection technology
- Develop stricter administrative license actions
- Change laws to create harsher punishments for repeat offenders
- Spread the use of DWI courts that focus on treatment rather than jail time
According to research from the AAA Foundation, the general public seems to be on the side of the NTSB for many of these actions. They found that 81 percent of survey participants were in support of a law that would require all those convicted of a DUI to have an alcohol ignition interlock system installed in their vehicles that would not allow them to use the car if they had been drinking. While, perhaps surprisingly, 71 percent of respondents were supportive of all cars having this technology.
The Last Two Decades Have Seen a Large Reduction in DUI Fatalities
While the NTSB pushes for lower DUI fatality rates, the numbers have been decreasing over the years. Their strong stance is likely because the board feels like the goal of zero drunk driving deaths is now reachable. Their confidence may be in part due to the fact that over the last 30 years, from 1982 to 2011, the number of individuals who died from drunk driving incidents dropped significantly. The number of DUI related deaths in 1982 was 21,113 and in 2011 it was 9,878, which is a 53-percent decrease in the number of fatalities.
Are you in favor of all the changes proposed by the NTSB? Do you think all cars should have interlock systems to prevent all DUIs from occurring? Share your opinions below.