DUI Breath Testing Devices could become Standard in All Cars

One issue that keeps rearing its ugly head is the push by lobbies like MADD for Alcohol-sensing technology to become standard in all cars.  Recently,Congress authorized funding (your tax dollars) for research on ignition interlock devices which, if MADD were to get its way, would become standard equipment on all new cars:

Alcohol-sensing technology could become standard in all cars

The government wants to make DUI interlock devices standard on all cars and you will have to pay for it!
The government wants to make DUI interlock devices standard on all cars and you will have to pay for it!

The long-term transportation funding bill just approved by Congress includes funds for researching alcohol-detection technology that could eventually be standard equipment in all new cars.

That funding — $5 million over two years — should have been stripped from the bill because it “uses American taxpayer dollars to fund something they’re not going to want in their cars,” said a group representing the restaurant industry.

“Spending lots of taxpayer dollars to develop alcohol-sensing technology that can come as standard equipment in all cars is a misuse of these funds,” said Sarah Longwell, managing director of the American Beverage Institute (ABI).

Since 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the nation’s automakers have been researching technology that can non-invasively measure a driver’s blood-alcohol content and prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver is legally drunk. The national research effort is the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS). (Read more)

While MADD and the government will spin this as the ultimate, super sauce to end DUI forever, there are a number of major issues which need to be addressed:

  1. Breath testing technology is very faulty and not specific to ethanol(See the problems with DUI breath testing).  The use of a number of substances can cause a false positive like nail polish remover, hand sanitizing liquid, mouth wash and even plain white bread!  That same faulty technology is being put into all of our cars exposing us all to the risks of false positives.  Imagine not being able to get to work or school because of a false positive.
  2. This (crappy) technology is very expensive and will increase the cost of cars by thousands of dollars.  Will people with older cars be required to install them as well?
  3. There have been reports of the device blocking out a driver for a number of DAYS after a positive test.  What is the sense behind this?
  4. What if you have a medical emergency and have to drive a loved one to the hospital and the car doesn’t start because of a false positive?
  5. Why should we all be punished with this device because of the acts of a few people?
  6. These manufacturers have heavy financial motivations as well.  These devices costs thousands of dollars.  Multiply that by the number of cars in America and you can see there is big money behind this.

I am personally fed up with the government intruding in our private lives and telling us how to spend our hard earned money all under the false premise of DUI enforcement.  There are much better ways to combat DUI, without compromising our liberty.

Justin McShane

PA DUI attorney Justin J. McShane is the President/CEO of The McShane Firm, LLC - Pennsylvania's top criminal law and DUI law firm. He is the highest rated DUI attorney in PA as rated by Avvo.com. Justin McShane is a double Board certified attorney. He is the first and so far the only Pennsylvania attorney to achieve American Bar Association recognized board certification in DUI defense from the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. He is also a Board Certified Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Approved Agency.

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