Anyone who drives a vehicle has a responsibility to provide proper safety considerations and behaviors for passengers. A passenger in a car has little to no control over the driver’s concerns about seat belts, child safety seats or the sobriety of the person behind the wheel, especially if that passenger is a child. Considering that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than 3 people under the age of 21 die each day in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, perhaps the utmost consideration for vehicle passenger safety is the choice to not drink and drive.
Ignition interlock devices (IIDs) are increasing in legislative visibility and in the consequences and sentencing requirements for convicted drunk drivers. These devices prevent vehicles from operating if the driver tests positive for alcohol consumption, reducing the ability to drive drunk. Since children are often involved in drunk driving accidents, an ignition interlock device can save lives and reduce the likelihood of injury to children across the country.
For a person who is convicted of driving drunk, aggravating factors in court can include child endangerment and passenger safety concerns. That is, if a drunk driver has an underage passenger in the car, the consequences of the drunk driving conviction and sentence will be much stricter. While this may seem enough reason for an adult to remain sober, there are still far too many children who are killed or harmed in drunk driving incidents.
In consideration of child endangerment and passenger safety, there is also the risk of causing harm to a child who is a passenger in another vehicle involved in a drunk driving accident. Across the country, laws are evolving to increase the child endangerment penalties for drunk driving, including the installation of an ignition interlock device as a deterrent for any future drunk driving activities. Child endangerment and passenger safety should always be considerations of a driver, and keeping safe with an IID, seat belts or child safety seats are proven methods to keeping all children safe from harm.