The future of ignition interlock devices: One in every car?

If you get convicted of a DUI in West Virginia, there's a good chance that you'll be using an ignition interlock device - at least for a while. States across the U.S. are increasingly using ignition interlock devices as punishment and as a way to prevent repeat offenses.

There are two significant drawbacks that most people using IIDs have noticed. The first is the expense, which often includes paying for installation and monthly calibration. The second drawback is the embarrassment associated with the use of the device, which makes it obvious that you have been charged with drunk driving.

How would people feel about IIDs if they didn't cost nearly as much and if everyone else had one? These are questions that safety regulators and auto industry officials will likely be discussing in the near future. There seems to be increasing support nationwide to someday make ignition interlock devices standard equipment on all new vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has already been pushing for this change. If and when it gets enacted, IID technology will likely be much less obvious and much less intrusive than it is currently. Some envision sensors in the steering wheel that could detect alcohol levels through the skin. Others say that "passive" breathalyzer tests will be able test the ambient air being exhaled in the cab of the vehicle without the need to specifically blow into the device.

If IIDs someday become standard equipment, they will likely be included in the price of the car and every driver will have one. While this would certainly fix the two drawbacks we mentioned above, there may be some additional concerns about making IIDs universal. There are many questions about privacy and civil liberties that need to be answered before such a change could be enacted.

In the meantime, ignition interlock devices are one of the many potential consequences of a DUI arrest and conviction. If you are facing drunk driving charges, please seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Source: The Reflector, "Should manufacturers equip vehicles with interlock devices?" Brad Boyer, April 15, 2015

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