The Christmas and New Year’s holidays tend to be some of the most dangerous days and nights of the year for motorists. However, the risk of being injured or killed in drunk driving accidents does not disappear with the holiday season. Intoxicated drivers pose a risk to themselves and the general public every time they get behind the wheel. As a result, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is encouraging states across the nation to become more proactive in preventing future drunk driving accidents.

In particular, the NHTSA is encouraging every state in the union to pass strict ignition interlock device laws. The NHTSA insists that in an ideal world, each state would mandate that all convicted DUI offenders would be required to install these devices in their vehicles for a period of time. This mandate would extend to both repeat and first-time DUI offenders.

Critics of this approach insist that such a mandate would disproportionately affect impoverished and first-time offenders in negative ways. Advocates of the approach are concerned that without such strict mandates, drunk driving will continue to be a scourge on public safety. Although all states require that certain DUI offenders install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles, only 18 require installation in the vehicles of all convicted DUI offenders.

The cost of ignition interlock devices are high for some individuals and a sound argument could be made that first-time offenders should be given room to improve their behavior before strict requirements are imposed upon them. However, the costs of injurious and fatal DUI accidents are too high a cost for anyone too be asked to bear. As a result, there are strong arguments that support the NHTSA’s call to action on this issue.

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