Should New Cars be Equipped with BAC testers?
Over ten thousand people die each year due to alcohol related accidents. Because this number is so high, researchers are always looking for new and innovative ways to prevent these deaths. An idea that has been mentioned more than a few times is equipping all new vehicles with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testers. The BAC testers would require a driver to measure his or her BAC before being able to turn on or drive the vehicle. This idea is good in theory, but would it actually prevent deaths? Researchers at the University of Michigan Injury Center and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute decided to put this idea to the test.
Researchers predicted the impact of these BAC testers in new cars over a 15-year period, using one year old cars as their starting point and projecting the results over a 15-year time frame. They concluded that 25 percent of deaths would be avoided among drives age 21 to 29, and two hundred thousand deaths would be prevented among drivers under 21 years of age. Overall, 85 percent of fatal alcohol related crashed would be prevented.
These numbers are significant and this tool would be helpful. However, other scientists are claiming the death rate may not fall significantly if this tool is implemented because drivers may find a way around it. For example, a driver could have another passenger in the car blow into the BAC tester in order to trun the vehicle on.
If more research is done, and the idea is made into reality, we may be seeing BAC testers in new cars soon.