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Why parents are installing ignition interlock devices in cars

Ignition interlock devices are often ordered for people who have been convicted of one or more DUIs in order for offenders to get their driver's licenses back. IIDs are essentially Breathalyzers connected to the ignition that determine whether drivers have alcohol on their breath. If they do, their vehicles won't start.

States that require IIDs for all people convicted of DUIs have seen a significant reduction in drunk-driving fatalities. Some 22 states require them for even first time DUI convictions.

However, IIDs aren't just for convicted drunk drivers. Parents are having them installed in their or their children's vehicles to help prevent their kids from driving drunk. Companies like Intoxalock sell them for about $30 per month.

They can be programmed to detect alcohol at any level or at specific levels. They can also require the driver to blow into the device intermittently throughout the ride and keep a record of all results. The technology is evolving to eventually allow parents to have results, along with the location of the vehicle, texted or emailed to them. Some auto manufacturers, including Lexus and Volvo, are even offering an option to have IIDs factory-installed on some models.

Whether your child is a new driver who will be using one of the family cars from time to time or is going off to college where you'll have less control over his or her actions, an IID may be a worthwhile investment. It can be a lot less expensive that dealing with the fines associated with a DUI conviction. More importantly, it could save your child's life, as well as the lives of others sharing the road with them.

Source: PC World, "How ignition interlock devices can stop drunk drivers in their tracks," Lynn Walford, accessed Nov. 23, 2016