NHTSA Sets Aug. 22 Meeting to Push Auto Ignition Interlocks

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has scheduled an Aug. 22 meeting in Washington, D.C., to discuss auto ignition interlock systems -- specifically, why more of them aren't used to modify the behavior of convicted impaired drivers. MADD, for one, has been pushing for greater use.

The meeting will give judges, court personnel, treatment professionals, and other stakeholders a chance to discuss technological, legal, and educational issues relating to the use of ignition interlocks, said NHTSA, which will host the meeting from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, 1000 H St. NW. Contact Dr. Jeff Michael, director of the Office of Impaired Driving and Occupant Protection, at 202-366-4299 or jeff.michael@dot.gov for information.

The meeting notice says alcohol ignition interlock devices have been used for more than 20 years and are allowed or required by nearly every state and the District of Columbia. "Ignition interlocks have been shown to reduce DWI recidivism by about 65 percent when installed on offenders' vehicles," it says. "Despite their benefits, a number of practical barriers to utilization of ignition interlocks have been identified, and only a small proportion of offenders who are eligible for interlocks are now using the devices. Law enforcement officials make approximately 1.4 million impaired driving arrests each year and while the number of convictions is somewhat less and the number of repeat offenders yet lower, the approximately 100,000 ignition interlocks that are in use at any one time are a small fraction of the number that could be in service."

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