With the new year come new laws. In Washington, one of the new laws applies to those who have been previously convicted of a DUI charge and must use ignition interlock devices in order to start their cars.
An ignition interlock device requires the driver to blow into it so it can read the person's blood alcohol content. If it is below the legal limit, the vehicle will start. If the person is deemed intoxicated, the vehicle will not start.
Washington State Patrol troopers claim that many people get around the interlock device by having their children or other passengers blow into the device. The new law takes some extreme measures to prevent this alleged practice.
Now, cameras will be installed in new devices and in the devices of current users who have been using the device for a while. They will take photos of the person blowing into the device to confirm the device is being used properly. The device also records failures and any tampering that a person may do to the device. If police suspect any tampering, they will make personal visits to the offenders.
Ignition interlock devices are often used in situations where the person's license would otherwise be suspended; however, they can also be used for first-time offenses at a judge's discretion. Although these devices are used to start the vehicle, they may also require the driver to submit to tests while driving. Therefore, if a person drinks after getting the vehicle to start, the BAC could change, and if the person is intoxicated, the car will sound an alarm.
Some may reasonably question whether installing the equivalent of a police video camera in a driver's vehicle is a Pandora's box. If police can video monitor drivers with a DUI, for what other crimes might they decide to implement this practice? Might cameras and blood test devices be installed in the home or office, in addition to the car? It is important to think critically about the far-reaching consequences of such practices implemented in the name of "law enforcement."
Source: Bonneville Seattle, "Washington drunk drivers to be forced to use interlocks with cameras," Chris Sullivan, Dec. 28, 2012