Responsibility, Paternalism and Alcohol Interlocks
(English)In: Ethics of Health Promotion, SpringerChapter in book (Other academic)
Drink driving causes great suffering and material destruction. The alcohol interlock promises to eradicate this problem by technological design. Traditional counter-measures to drink driving such as policing and punishment and information campaigns have proven insufficient. Extensive policing is expensive and arguably intrusive. Severe punishment may be disproportionate to the risks created in most single cases. If the interlock becomes inexpensive and convenient enough, and if there are no convincing moral objections to the device, it may prove the only feasible as well as the only justifiable solution to the problem of drink driving. Taking this to heart, the former Swedish government, supported by the National Road Administration and a 2006 final report of the Alcohol Interlock Commission, proposed that interlocks should be required as standard equipment in all cars. This article assesses two possible moral objections to a policy of mandatory interlocks: 1) That it displaces the responsibility of individual drivers, and 2) that it constitutes a paternalistic interference with drivers. The first objection is found unconvincing, while the second has only limited bite and may be neutralized if paternalism is accepted for the sake of greater net liberty. If technological development can make mandatory interlocks cost-efficient, the proposed policy seems a commendable public health measure.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-10945OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-10945DiVA: diva2:232994
QC 201007142009-08-272009-08-272010-08-31Bibliographically approved