Ignition Interlock Devices: The View from the Prosecution

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on August 18th, 2008

I've railed in past posts about the ineffectiveness of ignition interlock devices (IIDs).  See The Truth About Ignition Interlock Devices.  This latest sure-fire weapon, which MADD loudly claims will "eliminate drunk driving once and for all", is currently sweeping the country.

We know what the Mothers think.  What about the prosecutors in the trenches?

Prosecutors Express Doubt About New DUI Law

Jacksonville, IL.  Aug. 2  - While mandatory ignition locks equipped with a breathalyzer are suppose to prevent convicted first-time, drunken drivers from driving illegally, several area prosecutors doubt they will accomplish that purpose.

The new mandate won’t take effect until Jan. 1, but prosecutors for Morgan, Scott and Greene counties are skeptical about how the offenders will be able to afford the costly monitoring device and pay their DUI fines, which the counties already find difficult to collect…

He and other prosecutors see holes in the system. “It’s a step in the right direction,” said Scott County State’s Attorney David Cherry. “And, yet, it’s a costly device and doesn’t guarantee 100 percent that they won’t drive when they shouldn’t. That’s a problem.”

“If you have a crazy drunk who is going to drink and drive, this doesn’t necessarily stop them from driving,” Mr. Bonjean noted. “It only stops them from driving the vehicle that they put the (breathalyzer) device in.

“That doesn’t mean they can’t go get in their friend’s vehicle or their kid’s vehicle or get in their wife’s vehicle, which would be a violation, and drive that,” Mr. Bonjean said.

Greene County State’s Attorney Matt Goetten echoed the two prosecutors’ concerns, adding, “What’s to prevent them from having someone not drinking blow into it and start the car up?”..

Mothers Against Drunk Driving called the new law one of the most important pieces of DUI legislation passed in Illinois in several years, because ignition interlocks stop vehicles from being driven by those who are drunk, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said in a press release he issued last month.

Those on the front lines are skeptical. “I personally don’t think it will have much, if any, effect on DUI offenders,” Mr. Bonjean said. “The only thing I think it is going to do is create a larger market for the (breathalyzer) devices, themselves.

“I think whoever owns stock in these (breathalyzer) companies is probably going to do fairly well, because this opens up a new (sales) avenue for them,” he said.

Exactly.  See my earlier post, Ignition Interlock Devices: Dangerous But Profitable.

  • standup

    MADD wants to get these gizmos in EVERY car of EVERY citizen. Not just in the cars of 2nd or first time offenders. Prohibition drip by drip…
    Just little by little, make it more difficult to obtain or drink liquor for everyone.
    I’m staring down both barrels of Hurricane Fay right now, I better get busy…

  • standup

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’ll bet MADD has $$ invested in these companies,or these companies have generously donated to MADD. The I.R.S. and the S.E.C. should be on this like white on rice baby. In the meantime which company is the best one to invest in ? MADD won’t tell me…

  • koivisto

    I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, ban all liquor and our worries will go away………
    As I write this I hear crash after crash from those horrible DRUNKS. Every day when I drive to work it is a constant worry of mine to get to work on time due to the DUI roadblocks, fatal crashes, DRUNKS asleep at the wheel at a green light, they are every where and I’m afraid to drive now, maybe a little drink to take the edge off? Not to downplay the issue but lets get serious. If you are suspected of DUI, them they should take you to a hospital for a blood test, with a limit of .10 as the line. If below, the police pay for the test and give you $1000 for your troubles, and when I say police, I mean the officer himself. If higher then put STRICT discipline in place, with jail time and very large fines. The officer would think twice and so would a driver. This would probably stop 99% of the trouble, but we would lose the precious revenue.

  • Yumacat

    It is easy to stop the “erosion” of our rights: Make the BAC level to drive 0.00 – NONE. In this way devices only have to detect the presence of alcohol and not its level, which will prevent attorneys from getting rich trying to fight to accuracy of devices, which is the cause of so much litigation surrounding DUI prosecution. It won’t matter if the BAC is .0799 or .0800; you either have alcohol in your system or you do not: period!

    I know, some will see this as a ridiculous solution; however, use just a little bit of reason. I think even alcoholics and drug addicts would agree that it is wrong that people get killed by “drunk” drivers (although the average drunk drivers will never admit that they are one of them). The reasonable solution is to completely separate driving from consumption of alcohol like is done for pilots, truck drivers, etc. Now, some may think it is their right to play with fire and drink before getting behind the wheel, but driving after drinking is not a guaranteed right of the Constitution of which I am aware. People are still free to drink all they want; they just cannot drive after consuming an alcoholic beverage. People can drive all they want, just not after consuming an alcoholic beverage. It makes total sense except for those that make money off drunk driving and those alcoholics who drive drunk and who create excuses in an attempt justify why their obviously wrong behavior is somehow right.

    I know: MADD is going after our rights; we are going to have Marines stopping us in the streets; intoxilyzers are inaccurate; vampire cops are strapping us down to get our blood, slurred speech is not a sign of DUI; yes, everything is wrong with the world except that thousands of idiots think it is OK for them to drink and drive. It is like arguing with my five year old why it is not OK for him to play in the street. Let’s grow up, act like adults, stop putting innocent lives in danger and keep the blood money out of the pockets of the DUI attorneys and corporate CEOs.

    I know, its hard to accept this; after all, judgment is the first thing to go when a person starts to drink – but not your judgment, of course; you’re fine and only had two beers… blah, blah, blah – Sober up! Grow up! Stay off the same roads as my family!