Ignition Interlock Laws Too Close to Big Brother for Some, P. 2

in Drunk Driving, on

States have adopted different laws around ignition interlock devices. Some states require every person convicted of drunk driving to install one — even first-time offenders. Other states, like North Carolina, require interlocks for more serious offenders. Here, an interlock device is required if you are convicted with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more, if your conviction is your second for impaired driving in seven years or if your conviction is for habitual impaired driving.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging legislatures to adopt ignition interlock mandates for every level of offender. Anyone over the limit who is convicted of DWI would have the device installed on his vehicle.

Opponents say the legal limit mandate goes too far. The American Beverage Institute, for example, points out that mandates remove the judge from the criminal process. Doing so puts the person who was a sip over the limit at a disadvantage; both this person and the heavy, habitual drinker are subject to the mandate.

The ABI is an association of restaurant owners. Its mission, according to its website, is to protect “the on-premise drinking experience” and to defend “the right to drink moderately and responsibly prior to driving.” The organization has stated publicly that restaurants support reasonable DWI laws, that restaurants would rather have ten customers have one drink each than have one customer have ten drinks.

As technology advances, too, the ignition interlock may be standard equipment on all vehicles. The ABI believes there are more issues with that than the obvious “Big Brother” risk. We’ll discuss those in our next post.

Source: MSNBC, “Curbing drunken drivers: Should ignition interlock be required on every car?” Jim Gold, Jan. 5, 2012