Letter to the Editor

Detectors unreliable as DUI deterrents

The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Drunken driving is a serious problem, but mandating alcohol detectors for all drivers isn’t the solution (“Alcohol detectors should be mandatory,” Metro, July 8). Our anti-drunken driving policy must focus on the main cause of this problem: Drivers who repeatedly flout the law and drive with high blood-alcohol levels. These drivers are responsible for more than 70 percent of drunken-driving fatalities every year.

A federal program is under way to put alcohol detectors in every car, but there are major problems with this technology. Even if manufactured to work correctly 99.7 percent of the time, the technology will still malfunction 3 million times per day. The technology will also target social drinkers who consume only a drink before driving.

Georgia requires hardcore drunken drivers to install ignition interlocks upon conviction. Instead of punishing responsible drivers, we can make our roadways safer by extending the time these interlocks are on vehicles, and following up with offenders to ensure compliance with the law.

SARAH LONGWELL, MANAGING DIRECTOR, AMERICAN BEVERAGE INSTITUTE