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Bill seeks to make drunk driving prevention devices mandatory

When it comes to the effects of drunk driving, people in Oregon have plenty to be concerned about. Despite massive law enforcement efforts and widespread public awareness campaigns, 30 people across the country are killed every day in car crashes linked to driving under the influence. Some lawmakers think that technological solutions can help stop drunk driving before intoxicated people get behind the wheel. They take inspiration from a common penalty applied to people convicted of DUI: Ignition interlock devices are essentially in-car breathalyzers that verify that a driver's breath is free of alcohol before the car can be started.

When people install an ignition interlock device after a drunk driving conviction and remove it after the mandatory period of use, the bills can quickly add up to thousands of dollars. However, most of that cost does not reflect the expense of the actual device but rather functions as another form of fine. Members of Congress want to make more advanced versions of the ignition interlock device standard equipment on all new cars by 2024, making the devices smaller, cheaper and more accurate along the way. The bipartisan sponsors of the Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (RIDE) Act of 2019 say that their proposal can save 7,000 lives every year.

The bill would provide funding for further development of interlock devices to prevent a car from being started until the driver blows a clean breath test. The technology would be ezamined every six months to one year until it was deemed technologically ready for widespread installation, with a deadline of 2024.

For now, drunk driving crashes continue to pose a major threat on the roads, leading to catastrophic injuries and lifelong disabilities. People injured in motor vehicle collisions by drunk or negligent drivers might work with a personal injury lawyer to pursue compensation for their damages.

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