New York: Researchers are working on an in-built blood alcohol level tester that can prevent people under its influence from driving.
The team at the University of Michigan studied the impact of installing these alcohol ignition interlock devices in all newly-purchased vehicles over a 15-year period.
Their estimates of injury prevention and cost savings are significant. They found that around 85 percent of the crashes resulting in deaths could be avoided.
"That would mean preventing more than 59,000 deaths in US alone over 15 years," the team reported in a paper published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Another 1.25 million non-fatal injuries would also be prevented.
The cost of installing the devices would be recouped after just three years.
"Our analysis demonstrates the significant public health benefit and societal cost savings associated with including alcohol ignition interlock devices as standard equipment in all new cars," said lead author Patrick Carter from University of Michigan.
By capitalising on recent technological advancements that make alcohol-detecting sensors seamless to the driver and applying such technology more broadly to all newly-built vehicles, "we can actually have a substantial injury prevention impact among traditionally hard-to-reach high-risk populations," Carter added.