NTSB: Require ignition locks for all drunk drivers

Associated Press
This photo taken Sept. 24, 2011, provided by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), shows a post accident view of the vehicles from the Fountain, Colo. wrong-way collision. Hundreds of people are killed each a year when drivers turn the wrong-way into the face of oncoming traffic on high-speed highways, and a majority of the crashes involves drivers with blood alcohol levels more than twice the legal limit, a federal accident researcher said Tuesday. (AP Photo/NTSB)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal safety board is recommending that all states require ignition interlock devices for convicted drunk drivers, including first-time offenders.

The five-member National Transportation Safety Board said the devices are currently the best available solution to reducing drunk driving deaths, which account for about a third of the nation's 32,000 traffic deaths each year.

In particular, the board cited a new study by its staff that found some 360 people a year are killed in wrong-way driving crashes on high-speed highways. The study concluded that 69 percent of wrong-way drivers had blood alcohol levels above the legal limit of .08.

Seventeen states already have laws requiring use of the device by all convicted drunk drivers.

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