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Feds Set to Spend $12 Million Annually on Ignition-Interlock Devices

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The Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010 includes $12 million in funding for development of alcohol-detection devices that could be installed in all cars, the New York Times reported June 25.

The government and the U.S. auto industry have been working on an improved version of the ignition-interlock device, which prevents the vehicle from starting if the driver has more than the legal limit of alcohol in his or her system. The bill would increase program funding from the current $2 million annually, calling for $60 million over five years — an increase backed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, among others.

“We want a device that has to be invisible to the sober driver, the person under the legal limit. It has to be very fast, very accurate, highly reliable and precise,” said Susan Ferguson, director of the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety program. “All those things will take a significant amount of money.”

Other ignition-interlock systems are already in use in states that mandate their use by convicted drunk drivers. 

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