December 30, 2006


Using technology to save lives makes sense (Seattle Times, 12/30/06)

People convicted of driving under the influence are required to install ignition-interlock devices in their cars. Proof of installment is required to get suspended driver's licenses reinstated.

Only a fraction of convicted drunk drivers are following this law. There ought to be a way to compel the others and protect the public. The state Department of Licensing is required to monitor the activities of legal drivers. [...]

Washington started out ahead of the trend in adopting ignition-interlock laws. We've required them since 2004. But without strict measures to ensure compliance, the law puts up a feeble fight against drunk driving.

Remedies range from getting car manufacturers to include the device in all cars — expensive — to insurance companies offering a discount for drivers who use the device — unlikely. The best prospect lies with the state licensing department, which is convening a task force to tackle the problem of drivers who represent a threat to public safety.

Nothing is guaranteed to clear the road 100 percent of drunk drivers, but it is foolish to have a tool and not use it to its fullest potential.

They aren't more expensive than the lives ended and ruined.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 30, 2006 12:00 AM

"Nothing is guaranteed to clear the road 100% of drunken drivers. . .."

Vehicle confiscation and 1 year mandatory minimum jail time would come very close.

This is a misuse of technology issue. It is so very closely analogous to gun control that the same dilemmas obtain. To what extent would we inconvenience the law-abiding to avoid the harshness necessary to deter and incapacitate the criminal.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 30, 2006 9:45 AM

Take away their licenses and their cars.

Posted by: erp at December 30, 2006 9:46 AM

They should only be required for citizens, right? To impose them on the "undocumented" or Muslims* would be an undue hardship for them, and a racist, bigoted and Islamophobic reaction by the rest of us.

*Muslims don't drink, so requiring a test for drunkness would be an insult to them and the religion.

Lou Gots and erp: How can we round up millions of drunks and send them to jail? And enforcing our laws? How quaint! Better and easier to just assume we are all guilty, and punish everyone equally. Well, except for people who claim to hate cars. Them we'll give exemptions because they voluntarily installed these devices on their own vehicles long before they became mandatory.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 30, 2006 11:56 AM

Except that cars are registered, drivers licensed and both unprotected by the Constitution. Driving is a privilege, not a right.

Posted by: oj at December 30, 2006 1:33 PM

They aren't more expensive than the lives ended and ruined.

That's the argument used by every meddling nannystater to justify every loss of liberty. Why not mandatory morning granola for colon health?

Besides, any such device will be easily defeated, and won't detect coke, speed, pills, pot, or whatever else.

Posted by: PapayaSF at December 30, 2006 2:00 PM

Sounds like starting other peoples cars would offer a nice opportunity for some enterprising spirit.

Posted by: Daran at December 30, 2006 2:55 PM

You mean loss of freedom, it is liberty. Of course we value life and liberty and not freedom. That's a truism.

Posted by: oj at December 30, 2006 4:34 PM


What part of universal confuses you?

Posted by: oj at December 30, 2006 4:37 PM