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A breathalyzer in every car?

Dan Grech Nov 20, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: Today, Mothers Against Drunk Driving launches a new campaign to change the law. MADD wants all cars owned by convicted drunk drivers to include a breathalyzer. If you don’t pass the test, the car won’t start. And the auto industry is on board with this. Marketplace’s Dan Grech reports.

DAN GRECH: Car manufactures support mandatory breathalyzers for convicted drunk drivers. Management consultant Pam Murtaugh says it’s not complex autotronics to understand why.

PAM MURTAUGH:“It behooves the auto industry to do anything that looks like it’s protecting people. What are they going to say? We want to sell our escalades to people who we know are more likely to drink and drive than other people? They’re in trouble enough.”

Murtaugh sees the breathalyzer as a cousin to . . .

MURTAUGH:“. . . patronizing cars that dink at us when we don’t put on our seatbelts.”

In each case, Murtaugh says the idea is to reduce the number of serious accidents. That in turn helps insurance companies.

MURTAUGH:“So we’ve been building every more patriarchal mechanisms into technology that in the end are about saving us money.”

But Murtaugh worries law enforcement will ask themselves, why limit breathalyzers to convicted drunk drivers? Why not install them in all cars?

I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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