For years, law enforcement and anti-drunk driving advocacy groups have pushed state legislators across the country to increase the required use of ignition interlock devices (IID). These devices are designed to prevent drunk driving by requiring the operator to blow into it prior to starting a vehicle and periodically while driving the vehicle. If the device detects the presence of alcohol on the driver's breath, the vehicle will shut down or force you to pull over.
According to Car and Driver, there is some evidence that these devices can limit the rate of drunken driving. However, an investigation by the New York Times highlights some surprising facts about the device. These devices have the potential to put your life and the lives of other drivers at risk, and you have little say in whether the government requires them in your vehicle following a DWI conviction.
IID Supporters Fail to Consider the Risks
There are many interested parties that are in favor of expanded IID requirements. Mothers Against Drunk Driving have long sought mandatory use for every person convicted of a DWI. The CDC has also signaled it is in favor of expanded IID requirements.
While these parties have come to this conclusion based on their belief that the device can reduce repeat DWI offenses, these entities have yet to address the risks these devices bring with them.
How IIDs Put You & Others at Risk
In December of 2019, the New York Times reported on their in-depth study of IID use. Their conclusion: IID use has led to thousands of accidents across the country.
Many drivers understand the concept of these devices. To start their vehicle, a motorist must first blow into a tube attached to the steering wheel. If the IID records a sample with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.0, the vehicle will start. Otherwise, it will remain immobile. What many fail to realize is that these devices also require testing while driving. Known as “rolling retests,” an IID will prompt drivers at random intervals to blow into the device again. This is intended to prevent drivers from blowing into the vehicle once and then drinking once the engine is running.
The problem with this system is obvious. Distracted driving commonly leads to vehicle accidents, and an IID presents a significant distraction. Drivers must blow into the tube in a short window of time or see their vehicle shut off – even when traveling at high speed. Some drivers attempting to provide a breath sample while driving can lose control of the vehicle and crash.
Avoiding the Need for an Interlock with a Houston DWI Defense Attorney
The New York Times article reaches the conclusion that an IID can be dangerous to you and everyone in your vehicle. These devices are often mandatory after a DWI conviction if you have any hope of driving again.
It is important to remember that you could avoid these requirements entirely if you win your DWI case. Attorney Doug Murphy has learned over the years that the unexpected consequences of a DWI plea bargain can be significant. That is why he typically advises his clients to fight a conviction at trial as opposed to agreeing to a plea that could require a dangerous interlock device in their vehicle. If you are ready to fight back against your Houston DWI charge, contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. right away.