The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that all states require ignition interlock devices for anyone convicted of drunk driving, even those who are first-time offenders.

As Bryan residents might know, ignition interlock devices prevent a car from starting if the driver's breath registers positive for alcohol. In most cases, the driver does not have to be drunk; he or she is not supposed to have alcohol and then drive at all.

Currently, 17 states require ignition interlock devices for convicted drunk drivers, even those who have been convicted of only one offense.

The NTSB has endorsed a wider use of ignition interlock devices because it sees them as the most effective way of reducing deaths caused by intoxicated drivers, which it said constituted about a third of the 32,000 traffic deaths that occur in the U.S. each year.

The proposal has been met with opposition from the American Beverage Institute, which represents the hospitality and alcohol industries. A spokeswoman for the organization said first-time drunk drivers are not the same as "hardcore" drunk drivers and so should not be treated as such. She said ignition interlock devices may make sense for some people in some situations, but said a blanket use of them is not necessary, appropriate or advisable.

Ignition interlock devices have also been viewed with skepticism by privacy advocates and politically conservative individual who oppose government overreaching.

What are your thoughts on this issue? While it does seem that wider use of ignition interlock devices may have a safety benefit, wouldn't that also be allowing government to be a little intrusive?

Source: Associated Press, "NTSB: Use ignition locks for all drunken drivers," Joan Lowy, Dec. 11, 2012