No seatbelt, no start? Government gives ignition interlocks a new look

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Everyone knows seat belts can save lives, but that fact is not enough to convince everyone to use them.

Four decades ago, the government considered making ignition interlocks mandatory.  The interlocks would prevent drivers from starting their cars unless their seat belts were fastened.

But the backlash from the public eventually led to lawmakers making it illegal to require any kind of interlock on vehicles.

Congress lifted some of those restrictions last year — and according to Automotive News, automakers are asking the government to give the interlocks a second look.

BMW petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for permission to use interlocks.  In exchange, the car company did not want to have to perform crash tests for people who do not wear seat belts.

The petition was denied, but the NHTSA said it will study interlocks for the next two years to determine if they safe lives.

“The agency agrees with the theoretical premise that a seat belt interlock system could have the potential to increase seat belt use rates,” the agency said in it’s notice to BMW. “This is consistent with our past research. However, the degree to which seat belt use will increase is not clear.”


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