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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Is The Drunk Driving Device
A Driving Distraction?

This is another story from the Minneapolis Red Star Tribune. It is not available by direct linking since the Red Star requires Free Registration to read their stories. So instead, Google search the name Rochelle Olson, the writer of the story and then click on the NEWS option for Google and you will find the story titled: "Drunken driving devices await guidelines for use".

Here's the skinny. The device is the ignition interlock device that connects to a car's electrical system that tests a motorist's blood-alcohol content (BAC) before allowing or refusing the operator the ability to drive the car.

Here is how the device works according to Autosense International, Illinois Secretary of State:

1) Driver types a user code into a key pad,
2) Drivers breathes into the mouthpiece for two to five seconds,
3) The BAC level of driver appears on a digital display, indicating whether the driver has passed or failed. If the level is .025% or above, the car will not start.

And this is where the fun begins (emphasis mine):

According to the article, a driver must retake the test every several minutes while on the road - while driving! If the driver flunks the test, the car horn will honk until the engine is shut down. The horn will also honk if the driver refuses to take the test while driving.

Yeah - this is what people driving on the highways and freeways need, some idiot distracted by having to blow into a tube every so often to keep their vehicle running. Along with talking on cell phones, applying make-up, drinking coffee, text-messaging, reading a map, eating food, changing the radio station or a CD - we have another distraction to add to a long list of driver diversions.

Judge John Holahan - boy, he looks like a a lot of fun to be around, huh?

Hennepin County District Court Judge John Holahan tells the Red Star that, "the one disadvantage to a family is [if] you only have one car in a family, and if the wife has two glasses of wine at dinner, she's not going to be able to start the car."

Oh, so now we're down to two glasses of wine being the determining factor of drunk driving - assuming that two glasses of wine will equal or exceed .025% BAC (and 'Da Judge seems to imply it will) - when the legal limit driving under the influence is a BAC of .08? How very interesting, how very strange, how very arbitrary.

I can't wait for the first lawsuit to be filed when an innocent and sober driver is hurt or killed by another driver who was distracted by being required to blow into the tube of the drunk driving device. And I hope the manufacturer of the device and the state requiring its use has their asses sued.

There are far better ways to enforce drunken driving laws and clamp down on people driving drunk. This device is not one of them.


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