Each year, far too many individuals are injured and killed in motor vehicle crashes all across the United States. Though these accidents can be caused by drunk drivers and those who operate their vehicle inappropriately, distracted driving, where the driver is focused on something other than the road, is another common cause of car accidents that deserves attention.
Many people die in Pittsburgh every year in drunk driving accidents. Last year, over 48,000 people were arrested for driving under the influence in Pennsylvania. Due to a recent series of fatal accidents involving drunk drivers, state legislators have decided to crack down on drunk driving statewide. One of the first major changes may be to require even first-time DUI offenders to have ignition interlock devices installed in their cars. These devices will require DUI offenders to take a breath test every time they start their car. The device will check the driver's blood alcohol concentration before allowing the car to start. Currently, Pennsylvania requires these devices after a second conviction. If this law passes, Pennsylvania will become one of 31 states to require the device after the first conviction.
A recent study published by the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development has found that when teenagers ride in vehicles driven by impaired drivers, they are more likely to drive while drunk or high on drugs themselves. Although this is certainly an important statistic and one that certainly should be explored more in-depth, reports on the study fail to focus on the more immediate dangers -- teenagers riding with impaired drivers.