Mothers Against Drunk Driving kicked off a campaign today to crack down on drunken driving, with a high-tech twist.
The group says drunks are not getting any smarter
So it is hoping cars will prevent intoxicated drivers from ever getting on to the road.
The device is called an interlock, and activists say it may be the key to stopping drunken driving.
Like a breathalyzer, it measures blood-alcohol levels.
But if a driver does not pass a simple breath test, the car will not start.
Mary E. Peters, Secretary of Transportation explains, "Technology can help keep drunk drivers from getting on the road."
Peters joined Mothers Against Drunken Driving as it kicked off a national push to require interlocks for every American convicted of drunken driving, more than half a million cars in the next five years.
Interlocks are already used for repeat offenders in forty states
But supporters would like to see this technology become as common as seatbelts.
"Cars are getting smarter all the time,” says Charles Hurley, CEO of MADD. “Some even park themselves, electronic stability control. That technology can be applied to detect drunk drivers and make cars inoperable perhaps ten years from now."
Though law-abiding citizens may chafe at that notion, supporters argue public safety outweighs individual rights.
MADD President, Glynn Birch lost his son to a repeat drunken driver. “So, if they were in place when my son was killed, my son would be here today."
The bottom line is if you drink and drive you're not only endangering yourself you're endangering other people out there. We know that drunk driving crashes kill over 16,000 people per year and that hasn't gone down," explains Mantil Williams of the American Automobile Association.
Interlocks are a high-tech hope for a deadly problem.