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February 16, 2017
DES MOINES, IA
In light of the recent study released by the National Safety Council, Intoxalock, a leading ignition interlock provider, is calling for more stringent legislation and stronger state enforcement of drunk driving penalties for offenders.
For the first time in nearly a decade, preliminary 2016 data from the National Safety Council estimates that as many as 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes last year. That marks a 6 percent increase over 2015, and a 14 percent increase over 2014. The preliminary estimate means 2016 may have been the deadliest year on the nation's roads since 2007, with an estimated cost to society of $432 billion.
With the upward trend showing no sign of subsiding, Intoxalock supports the National Safety Council's call for immediate implementation of life-saving measures that would set the nation on a road to zero deaths, including mandatory ignition interlocks for all drunk drivers.
"The number of DUI arrests has seen a dramatic decline over recent years and now we're paying the price in increased traffic fatalities," said Brad Fralick, Director of Government Relations for Intoxalock.
"In 2007, there were over 1.4 million arrests nationwide. Then the Great Recession of '08-'09 hit and DUI enforcement funds at all levels -- local, state and federal -- were slashed. Arrest rates began falling. The optimists hoped this was a sign that fewer persons were drinking and driving. Unfortunately the dramatic rise in alcohol-related traffic fatalities for the past two years in a row proves otherwise. The drunk drivers are still out there in force, and law enforcement does not have the resources it needs to successfully attack the problem," Fralick continued.
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is painting the same picture, demonstrating an end to a 5-decade trend to declining fatalities and pointing to drunk driving as a critical component with almost one in three deaths involving drunk drivers.
"Legislatures need to appropriate funds for this enforcement crackdown, and then states need to use the one tool that has been found to be most effective -- ignition interlocks for all DUI offenders," Fralick added.
National Safety Council uses data from the National Center for Health Statistics, an arm of the CDC, so that deaths occurring within 100 days of the crash and on both public and private roadways – such as parking lots and driveways – are included in the Council's estimates. Motor vehicle fatality estimates are subject to slight increases and decreases as data matures.
The National Safety Council has issued traffic fatality estimates since 1921. Supplemental estimate information, including estimates for each state, can be found here.
Headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, Intoxalock (http://www.Intoxalock.com) developed its state-of-the-art ignition interlock device in conjunction with researchers from Iowa State University. Recently celebrating their 23rd anniversary in the alcohol monitoring business, Intoxalock currently services clients that are legally required to install an IID or home alcohol-monitoring unit in 41 states across the nation, in addition to voluntary clients in all other states.