Road safety professionals to assemble in Palm Springs for the 12th Annual International Alcohol Interlock Symposium

OTTAWA, Sept. 19, 2011 /CNW/ - International experts are converging on Palm Springs, California, to share information in the global fight against drunk driving as the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) brings together more than 175 road safety professionals from 17 countries around the world and 21 US States at the 12th Annual International Alcohol Interlock Symposium, September 18th-20th.

"The theme of this year's event is Integrating Systems: Creating a Continuum of Care", explains Robyn Robertson, TIRF President & CEO. "The integration of licensing, criminal justice and treatment systems as part of interlock programs enables us to better manage offender risk and allocate resources, effectively creating a continuum of care to protect the public."

Founder of Mother Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) Candace Lightner will provide the opening address at the Welcome Reception. Opening plenary speakers for the Symposium are Chris Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and David Manning, Regional Administrator from the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The closing plenary speaker is Lowell Porter, Director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

Sessions will involve a mixture of panel presentations and discussion groups to identify opportunities for system integration. The goal is to ensure that agencies are better positioned to share information, and improve the monitoring and tracking of offenders across agencies and jurisdictions. A special session will be dedicated to California's pilot program for all offenders.

"California is pleased to be the site of this important symposium," said OTS Director Murphy. "Having recently begun a pilot program that will provide valuable insight into the increased use of ignition interlock devices, we are eager to learn what others from around the world are doing to save lives with this technology."

The agenda also includes speakers from Sweden, New Zealand, Finland and Canada. Of particular interest this year, presenters will also share their findings on brain research and what it tells us about impaired drivers, what we know about their risk of recidivism and how female offenders differ from male offenders.

"Participants include government officials, law enforcement, court and treatment professionals, researchers, community groups and members of industry", notes Robertson. "With the increasing number of jurisdictions around the world implementing interlock programs, the Symposium enables staff from the many agencies and countries involved to come together to share their research, discuss best practices and identify strategies to improve the delivery of interlock programs."

The first recipient of the Barry Sweedler Award will be announced in Palm Springs. Proceedings of this Symposium will be made available at www.interlocksymposium.com where proceedings of all past symposia are also available.

About the Symposium

Since 2000, the Annual International Alcohol Interlock Symposia have collected the current state of knowledge about alcohol interlocks. The goal of these symposia has been to advance all facets in the field of alcohol interlocks and support the development of evidence-based programs and practices to reduce impaired driving. Research demonstrates that these breath testing devices attached to a vehicle starter are an effective tool to separate drinking from driving. They reduce recidivism by an average of 60%. Today, jurisdictions around the world are strengthening and expanding alcohol interlock programs in a variety of settings.

Full program details are available at www.interlocksymposium.com.

About Alcohol Interlocks

An alcohol ignition interlock is a breath testing device that connects to the starter or ignition, or other on-board computer system of a vehicle. The device prevents the vehicle from starting if breath test results shows a breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) is found to exceed a certain pre-set limit (usually corresponding to blood alcohol concentration of .025%). This device also requires the driver to continue to pass repeated breath tests while the vehicle is in use to ensure that the driver remains sober. In addition, these programmable devices possess a range of anti-circumvention features. It should be noted that the alcohol interlock will never interfere with a running engine.

SOURCE TRAFFIC INJURY RESEARCH FOUNDATION (TIRF)

For further information:

If you plan to attend or need more information, please contact: 

Sara Oglestone
Manager, Marketing & Communications
Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF)
(613) 238-5235 ext. 304
sarao@tirf.ca
www.tirf.ca

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TRAFFIC INJURY RESEARCH FOUNDATION (TIRF)

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