For years, advocates have pushed for mandatory breathalyzers for any motorist convicted of driving while intoxicated. These regulations are designed to prevent convicted drunken drivers from getting behind the wheel with any alcohol in their system. The premise is simple: a driver must blow into a breathalyzer attached to their vehicle each time they enter the car. If the driver fails to blow or registers any alcohol on their breath, the car will not start.
The system is far from perfect, however. There are countless stories of drivers coming up with creative ways to skirt these rules. Examples include blowing into the breathalyzer and then leaving the vehicle running or finding another person to pass the breath test for the intoxicated driver.
A new Kansas regulation is aimed at catching drunk drivers that convince someone else to blow into the breathalyzer for them.
Kansas' New Photograph Requirement
In January 2020, Kansas enacted additional requirements for their mandatory ignition interlock devices. Kansas now requires all interlock devices to include a built-in camera. This camera will automatically photograph the person as they provide a breath sample in the car.
The installation and use of the device will not differ in any way from a traditional ignition interlock device. When a driver blows into the tube attached to the steering wheel, a camera in the device will automatically take a picture of that person's face. The theory is that it will prevent drivers from using friends or even their children to pass the breathalyzer for them since there will be a photographic record of the event.
These cameras are set up to take both still photos and video. However, it is fair to say they are designed primarily as a deterrent and for use in future civil or criminal trials. That is because no one is actively monitoring these devices. Law enforcement is not able to see that a person other than the owner is blowing into the device, giving the new system limited preventative value. While some say this additional regulation will deter drivers from cheating the system, the effectiveness remains to be seen.
How Texas Drivers Are Impacted
To date, Texas has not adopted a similar statute or regulation. Legislation has yet to be filed, much less debated. That does not mean this change in Kansas law is not a sign of things to come in the Lonestar State, however. Advocacy groups like MADD are pressing states to adopt camera requirements for their interlock devices. This pressure has worked on the Texas Legislature before. Regardless, most Texas courts require interlocks with cameras.
In recent years, Texas expanded interlock device requirements following a similar lobbying effort. Previously, magistrates had leeway to require the use of an interlock device for a first-time DWI offender. The law has since been changed to require interlock devices following every first offense.
Working with a Houston Board Certified DWI Defense Attorney
The best way to avoid a mandatory interlock device in your vehicle is to prevail in your DWI case. If you are acquitted, you will avoid any penalties including a mandatory interlock device. To learn more, schedule a free consultation with the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C.