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Thursday, November 30, 2006

DUI ignition-interlock called useless

Crash23cropped

In traffic safety, some truths are counter-intuitive. Driver education for teens, for example, is useless, and has been known to be useless since the 1970s, when federal authorities found out and ended funding for high school programs.

Not only did studies find that accident rates among young drivers were generally no different with or without driver education, but in some cases it was worse than useless, by giving young male drivers overconfidence.

Now prominent DUI defense attorney Lawrence Taylor has an opinion piece in Business Week magazine saying ignition-interlock devices to prevent drunk driving are useless. He cites a 2002 California DOT study that, although critical, doesn't sound conclusive to me. That study and follow-ups all seem to recommend leaving the IID legislation in place until the outcome of a long-term evaluation.

California may be the state to watch as MADD and its partner groups pursue a dramatic widening of the use of ignition interlock.

MADD cites a passel of studies saying IID devices are effective.

Hat tip to an anonymous e-mailer!

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