Tanya Mohn with Forbes reports that federal lawmakers are introducing the
next mandate for states to follow or risk losing their federal transportation
funding. This looks to be exactly the same strategy the feds used to force
state compliance with other
DUI laws, namely the .08 legal limit, which is national. The mandate: States must
require all DUI offenders to install and maintain
the ignition interlock device on their cars for at least six months after the offense date.
The ignition interlock is a device that stops a car or truck from starting
up if the driver has any alcohol on his or her breath. The would-be driver
blows into a tube. If the device registers the presence of any amount
of alcohol, the car would not start. Mohn reports that ignition interlocks
reduce repeat DUI by 67 percent.
The bill is known as Alisa's Law, named after the daughter of MADD
chief Jan Withers. Withers said: "Requiring ignition interlocks for
all convicted drunk drivers is now recognized as the best way to prevent
them from reoffending. Naming this legislation after my daughter is an
honor, and a message to the public that the fight against drunk driving
is not going to end until there are no more victims of this violent crime."
There is no doubt that an ignition interlock would cut down on the risk
of a driver who's had too much to drink and poses a risk to others
on the road due to dangerous driving. But the breadth of this law-requiring
all DUI offenders to install the ignition interlock-does not seem to take
into account the fact that the definition of a "drunk driver"
seems to be getting broader and broader as time goes on.
To some, a driver with two beers in his system, while under the .08 alcohol
level, is still an impaired driver, and deserves to be prosecuted for DUI.