Ignition Interlocks, Coming to a Car Near You?


The notion of devices that make starting your car impossible without passing some form of blood-alcohol test goes mainstream on the front page of America's newspaper, USA Today. Some details from the piece:

New York state legislators are considering requiring the devices on all cars and trucks by 2009…..

Manufacturers are perfecting technology that could detect alcohol on the skin surface, eliminating the need for the current, cumbersome, blow-into-a-tube breath-analyzing systems. Current breathalyzers cost about $1,000. The newer systems are expected to cost about the same.

The father of the New York bill, Felix Ortiz, has a good record on achieving what might have seemed ridiculous regulatory goals: he's the driving force behind the state's cell-phone-use-while-driving ban, the nation's first.

Even Mothers Against Drunk Driving isn't yet calling for them in all cars.

For now, the organization prefers requiring the devices, called ignition interlocks, for anyone convicted of a first drunken-driving offense.

About 70,000 ignition interlocks are on vehicles–most of them ordered by courts for repeat drunken-driving offenders.

Even without universal use, there's a huge potential market in the 1.4 million people who are arrested for drunken driving each year. Legislation is pending in at least 12 states that would require interlocks for some or all first-time offenders.

Reason's Jacob Sullum questioned the logic and slid down the slippery slope of legal blood alcohol standards here.

[Link thanks to The Agitator.]