New legislation contains a provision for research into ignition interlock devices to be installed as standard equipment in automobiles. Is this really just research or are there bigger motives behind this?
A recent article on Politico highlights the on-going battle over installing technology in vehicles to test for alcohol. The current legislation calls for research into this technology. While there is no mandate in the current legislation, many experts who have followed drunk driving legislation are concerned that we are headed for mandatory interlock devices for all cars. This would be a horrible step.
The current breath testing machines, whether it’s the handheld machines used by the police at roadside or the “advanced” machines used for the official state tests, are truly a flop. The technology is old and makes far too many mistakes to be considered reliable. This could cause some serious problems.
- If you eat a sandwich and want to drive, forget about it.
- Brush your teeth and use mouth wash like Listerine and want to drive, forget about it.
- For instance, if you’re a husband and your wife has suddenly gone into labor, a faulty breath test could freeze your car from starting which could threaten the life of your wife and child.
- What if someone who was trying to assault you was chasing you and you rush to your car only for it not to start because of the time it takes to process the breath test?
Then there is the question of our freedom. Why do you have to blow into a machine to prove that you’re not a criminal in order to start your car? What ever happened to the presumption of innocence before proven guilty? Whatever happened to the notion that we are a society built on the freedom from government?
Who will calibrate these machines? The police can’t keep their own machines properly calibrated so can they be trusted in this regards? Will people have to do it themselves?
There are many question that need to be answered and issues that need to be carefully studied and well-thought out before mandating this technology on all automobiles. While MADD and other lobbies will argue this is the “magic potion” to end DUI forever, we hope that lawmakers will make rational decisions about this program.