Archive for November 15th, 2010

MADD Lobbying for Breathalyzers as Standard Equipment in All Future Cars

Monday, November 15th, 2010

In the wake of their recent success in requiring mandatory ignition interlock devices (IIDs) in the cars of drivers who have been convicted of drunk driving, Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been planning the next push: requiring IIDs in all cars. In other words, no car could be sold in the U.S. without devices which would require you to pass a breath test every time you wanted to start the vehicle.  See All U.S. Cars To Have Ignition Interlock Devices?

I've posted in the past about how such devices are, at best, inaccurate and problematic. See, for example, Will Ignition Interlock Devices End Drunk Driving?  These are not the expensive, constantly-calibrated high-tech machines used in police stations, but rather assembly-line equipment made by car manufacturers, subject to endless sources of false readings and failures — which can, ironically, cause accidents.  See Ignition Interlock Devices: Dangerous But Profitable.

And I've documented that 3 of MADD's 6 biggest corporate contributors are auto manufacturers who stand to make big profits from mandatory IIDs (another of the 6 major contributors is MADD's telemarketing company).  See The Truth About Ignition Interlock Devices..

MADD is now finally making their push for federal legislation.  And based upon past successes with legislators unwilling to oppose MADD, the their chances are good.  In today's news:


MADD Lobbying for Device to Keep Cars From Starting in Driver is Intoxicated

Dallas, TX.  Nov. 15
— …Now in its 30th year, MADD has a new plan and wants to end drunken driving for good. The nonprofit is pushing for the development of alcohol-sensing technology that prevents cars from starting if the driver is intoxicated.

Some say the group is going too far. The $60 million proposed federal legislation to develop the technology has led to the latest round of charges that the group is "neo-prohibitionist."…

And the American Beverage Institute, a restaurant industry group, criticized MADD's fund-raising techniques this year. MADD relies heavily on expensive telemarketing, which led to poor marks from two charity watchdog groups…

MADD is lobbying Congress to pass an amendment to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act to provide the $60 million needed over five years for the sensor technology. Cars would not start if the driver has a blood alcohol level above the legal limit, at .08 or higher…

MADD's top critic, the American Beverage Institute in Washington, D.C., says the group is now going after social drinkers.

"They are no longer a mainstream organization," said Sarah Longwell, the institute's managing director. "Many of their policies are extremely fringe at this point."

The institute fears the alcohol sensing technology will be used against people just having a drink or two.

"When they talk about alcohol sensing technologies, ultimately what it does, it eliminates people's ability to drink anything before driving," Longwell said. "It's not about drunk driving anymore, it's about trying to demonize any drinking prior to driving."…

 
Would you trust Detroit to mass-manufacture sophisticated breathalyzer technology for your dashboard?
 

 

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