Crackdown on drunk drivers could help with one-way crashes - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Crackdown on drunk drivers could help with one-way crashes

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It's a national effort to curb a dangerous problem. About 400 people die annually at the hands of wrong way drivers, and the majority of those drivers are drunk.  "You will not be allowed to get behind the wheel and use your car as a lethal weapon," says Deborah Hersman, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.    

The NTSB is working to stop those deadly head-on crashes. The board has asked all states to require ignition interlock devices for convicted DWI drivers, even first time offenders."So you either blow clean... And sober ... Or the car doesn't start," says Hersman.

Right now only 17 states have those interlock systems required for first time offenders. But local law enforcement officers say any type of a deterrent is a good thing for the driving community.

"When there is a threat of an increased discipline, people do tend to obey that threat," says Sgt. Robert Sellers with the State Highway Patrol. "We need to use every available resource."

The Ohio Department of Transportation is doing its part to minimize wrong way crashes.  Since June, the agency has updated hundreds of signs to make them more visible for impaired drivers, especially at night.   Safety leaders say each move is critical in protecting all passengers on the roads.

"Driving while impaired is dangerous not just for them, but for everybody else on the roadway," says Sellers.

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