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U.S. Pushes States On Disabling Drunk Drivers’ Cars

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A police officer conducts a field sobriety test during a DUI traffic stop. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A police officer conducts a field sobriety test during a DUI traffic stop. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx wants states to require first-time drunken drivers to use alcohol breath monitors before they get behind the wheel.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released guidelines on Tuesday for states to use “ignition interlock programs.” The programs force drivers to blow into a breath analyzer. If they’ve been drinking, their cars won’t start.

Currently 20 states require the devices for first-time offenders. In Texas, having an ignition interlock device installed in vehicles of first-time offenders is optional. The device is required installation for offenders with two or more convictions for any combination of DWI, intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter.

Foxx spoke at an event in Washington kicking off the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement program.

The Transportation Department says drunken driving crash deaths rose 4.6 percent last year to 10,322. It’s the first jump after six years of declines. Last year 830 people died in drunken driving crashes during the winter holidays.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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