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On the surface, it looks like a great idea, especially if we are trying to limit the number of accidents caused by drunk drivers, and I don’t think anyone would argue with that idea. According to an article in the journal Traffic Death Prevention, and no I don’t read this on a regular basis, a listener told me about it, breath testing devices that prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol level exceeds a preset limit can cut down on DWI problems. The stats are quite good. First time offenders with interlock devices, as they are called, installed in their cars, they were 60% less likely to have a repeat offense than those who did not use the devices. The researchers looked at records of over 1,400 first time DWI offenders in New Mexico who had interlocks installed in their vehicles and they compared them with other first time offenders in the state who didn’t use the devices. Only 10% of the offenders with the devices had problems.

By: Brian McDonough, M.D., FAAFP