Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Recommends Increased Usage of Ignition Interlock Systems

Cleared2Drive alcohol-related crashes alcohol-impaired driving motor vehicle crashes traffic-related deaths CDC’s research and program Center for Disease Control CDC blood alcohol concentration (BAC) ignition interlocks programs Task Force on Community Preventive Services FBIImpaired Driving

Every day, 32 people in the United States die, in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 45 minutes.1 The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $51 billion.2 But there are effective measures that can help prevent injuries and deaths from alcohol-impaired driving.

How big is the problem?

  • In 2008, 11,773 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (32%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.1
  • Of the 1,347 traffic fatalities among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2008, about one out of every six (16%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver.1
  • Of the 216 child passengers ages 14 and younger who died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2008, about half (99) were riding in the vehicle with the with the alcohol-impaired driver.1
  • In 2008, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.3 That’s less than one percent of the 159 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.4
  • Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs are often used in combination with alcohol.5

What are CDC’s research and program activities in this area?

Ignition interlock programs recommended
Ignition interlocks are installed in vehicles to prevent operation by anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above a specified safe level (usually 0.02% – 0.04%). CDC reviewed the effectiveness of ignition interlocks programs to reduce alcohol-impaired driving recidivism and alcohol-related crashes.  The review, conducted on behalf of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services, drew on findings from a 2004 review conducted by Willis, Lybrand and Bellamy (Willis 2004). It concluded that ignition interlocks are associated with a median 70% reduction in re-arrest rates for alcohol-impaired driving. Based on strong evidence of the effectiveness of interlocks in reducing re-arrest rates, the Task Force recommended that ignition interlock programs be implemented. They also noted that the public health benefits of the intervention are currently limited by the small proportion of offenders who install interlocks in their vehicles. More widespread and sustained use of interlocks among this population could have a substantial impact on alcohol-related crashes.

  • Related Articles:
    Guide to Community Preventive Services. Reducing alcohol-impaired driving: ignition interlocks. [cited 2009 Nov 6]. Available at URL: www.thecommunityguide.org/mvoi/AID/ignitioninterlocks.htmlExternal Web Site Icon

    Willis C, Lybrand S, Bellamy N. Alcohol ignition interlock programmes for reducing drink driving recidivism. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2004, Issue 3.

References

  1. Dept of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Traffic Safety Facts 2008: Alcohol-Impaired Driving. Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2009 [cited 2009 Nov 3]. Available at URL: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811155.PDF
  2. Blincoe L, Seay A, Zaloshnja E, Miller T, Romano E, Luchter S, et al. The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2000. Washington (DC): Dept of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); 2002. Available at URL: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/staticfiles/DOT/NHTSA/Communication & Consumer Information/Articles/Associated Files/EconomicImpact2000.pdf Adobe PDF fileExternal Web Site Icon
  3. Department of Justice (US), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Crime in the United States 2008: Uniform Crime Reports. Washington (DC): FBI; 2009 [cited 2009 Nov 5]. Available at URL: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2008/data/table_29.htmlExternal Web Site Icon
  4. Quinlan KP, Brewer RD, Siegel P, Sleet DA, Mokdad AH, Shults RA, Flowers N. Alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults, 1993-2002. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2005;28(4:346-350.
  5. Jones RK, Shinar D, Walsh JM. State of knowledge of drug-impaired driving. Dept of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); 2003. Report DOT HS 809 642.
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