Illinois Ges Tougher DUI Law

MADD scores a round in Illinois. As a result of their efforts, first time DUI offenders will have 14 days to install a "breath-alcohol ignition-interlock device" in the dashboard of their car.

With the device, if a driver has a blood-alcohol content above 0.024, the engine won't start....Drivers who register a 0.08 or higher blood-alcohol level at the time of their arrest will be required to drive with the monitoring devices for five months. Drivers who refuse alcohol testing but are convicted must use the devices for 11 months.

....The gadgets also will require drivers be tested periodically while the car is running. Drivers will have to blow into the device again within the first 5 to 15 minutes of a trip, then at least twice every hour.


....Sponsors responded to a concern from Mothers Against Drunk Driving that alcohol-related crashes and arrests had stopped declining in recent years. The group argued that technology could be used to get more drunken drivers off the roads.

If a driver with a DUI conviction gets caught driving a car without the device, the penalty is up to 3 years in jail. And the cost?

The devices cost the driver $80 for installation and about $80 a month to rent. The secretary of state will charge another $30 a month to monitor drivers and administer the program.

No one approves of drunk driving. But as TChris wrote in a related post,

Attitudinal changes cannot be legislated. With education, healthier attitudes will spread over the course of time. Yet another increase in the impaired driving penalties is not an effective answer.

For more on DUI related issues, check out the excellent DUI Blog, written by DUI guru Lawrence Taylor, attorney, Fulbright professor and author of the authoritative textbooks on DUI laws. Its tagline: "Bad Drunk Driving Laws, False Evidence and a Fading Constitution." A good post debunking MADD's statistics is here. What would work better? See, the post It's Time for a Change.

Another good site: The National Motorists Association. They list their tenets and specific positions on the front page. Among them:

We support those legislative and enforcement initiatives that are effective in achieving stated goals of deterrence and removal of impaired drivers. We do not support initiatives based on revenge, political expedience, or emotional hyperbole.
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    Score one (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by eric on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:13:05 AM EST
    for the neo-temperance movement.  Make no mistake, this isn't about drunk driving, this is about drinking.

    How so? (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:40:50 AM EST
    Are they trying to prevent people from drinking alcohol?

    Yes, they are (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by eric on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:53:27 AM EST
    and don't take my word for it.  The founder of MADD says so:

    . . . MADD "has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned ... I didn't start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving"

    From Wikipedia, citing Bresnahan, S. (2002). "MADD struggles to remain relevant." Washington Times, August 6.


    this must be a big step back for MADD (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by ryanwc on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 03:12:37 PM EST
    then, since this is about separating the small number of people convicted of drunk driving from vast group of drinkers.

    Me, I think we shouldn't allow people to drive till 21, so they can learn to drink responsibly without the added distraction of a practice that is inherently dangerous for people (particularly boys) of that age.  I say that largely based on my own experience as a driver when I was a boy of that age.

    Anyway, as a drinker, I don't feel very threatened by MADD.  I know, I know, first they'll come for the drunk drivers, then they'll come for the brawling drunks, then for the drunks that beat their wives, and when they finally come for the drunks like me, there'll be no one around to defend me.

    And yet, I blithely lead my life without much concern for MADD and its effects on drunk drivers or on myself.  Irresponsible, I know, but that's how I am.


    What about the 18 year old... (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by kdog on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 03:17:10 PM EST
    who needs to support themselves?  Hard to do without a car in may places without adequate public transportation.

    I think lowering the drinking age back to 18 would be a wiser move...make it the universal age of adulthood.


    Why do I think you'd happily (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by Anne on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 04:07:18 PM EST
    advocate adding grain alcohol to baby formula and pot to strained baby food?

    I'm sure you'd see it as helping babies to be happy all the time...


    You'd think wrong.... (none / 0) (#79)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:44:49 PM EST
    18 plus to have all the fun you see fit to have...prior to that, parental consent required.

    I'm crazy, but not unreasonable:)


    Ah, I didn't know that. (none / 0) (#16)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:56:47 AM EST
    Thanks for the links.

    It may be a correct (none / 0) (#32)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:35:31 PM EST
    quote or not, but Wiki is not a good resource to link.  Most college classes do not allow it.

    Details, details. (none / 0) (#36)
    by oculus on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 01:21:46 PM EST
    If you want to (none / 0) (#45)
    by eric on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 01:44:21 PM EST
    pay the Washington Times to read the original, go right ahead:


    Gimme a break.  Wikipedia is as good a place as any to find information, as long as you check the cites.  And I did.  You will also note that I gave the full citation.  I was just using Wikipedia for what it is so good at doing:  making information readily accessible.  Is it and original source?  Of course not.  But neither are any other encyclopedias, indices, or digests.


    At the very least, they are trying (none / 0) (#12)
    by andgarden on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:49:20 AM EST
    to prevent people from learning how to enjoy it responsibly. They support laws (which almost everyone ignores, BTW) that make it illegal for anyone under 21 to take even a sip of alcohol, ever.

    Well, that under-21 thing is silly (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:56:21 AM EST
    But I guess I support a middle ground on the DUI thing. It might be because my neighbor's 9-year-old nephew was killed by a drunk driver a few years while riding his bike on the sidewalk - like so many things in life, certain mindsets change when it affects you personally.

    Believe me, I'm no teetotaller and I thank my lucky stars that I never got a DUI when I was younger and irresponsible, but I would never drink and drive today (which doesn't mean I don't drink!)

    I think the device is not a bad idea - although the cost is not good. If simple technology can prevent people from drinking and driving, that's OK with me. Just as I don't think pilots should be able to fly a plane impaired, I don't think people have the right to drive impaired and endanger others.

    What constitutes 'impaired' though is above my pay grade I admit.


    So true (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by Amiss on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:14:00 PM EST
    like so many things in life, certain mindsets change when it affects you personally.

    My son-in-law lost his leg to a drunk driver veering off the road. He and his g/f at the time and a few friends were returning from 6 flags and had a flat. His g/f was killed.

    I have seen the pain and lived with it, I would never drink and drive ever again and anything to prevent that same pain on another's face or in their eyes.......... It is heartbreaking.


    And they're counting on the fact (none / 0) (#19)
    by andgarden on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:01:11 PM EST
    that people like you won't ask many questions about what they actually want to accomplish.

    Many people who supported the "noble experiment" of the 1920s didn't really imagine that wine with dinner was going to go away. They often just thought that the drunkards could be removed by legislative fait.


    Oh, OK, 'people like me'. (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:06:23 PM EST
    Well, OK then.

    In other words, people who believe (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by andgarden on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:09:05 PM EST
    that MADD is one kind of organization, when it is actually another.

    Ok (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Amiss on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 04:58:58 PM EST
    Always find it refreshing on a liberal blog for someone to refer to me as "people like you".

    As an aside, I think for myself, I try to research all sides of a situation, not just jump in and say they are so bad for wanting to keep drunk drivers off the roads in Illinois. Heck at least Illinois is TRYING! Unlike many that are politically connected to get a pat on the back and driven home, which is the biggest disgrace.

    As far as MADD goes, I am not a member, but when it was first organized, I agreed with some of it's tenets. I disagreed with others. Just as, I am fairly sure, most PEOPLE LIKE ME of a certain age will do.

    It has something to do with "walking a mile in my shoes" I think and in many instances you just can not be of a sufficient age to have the life experiences that PEOPLE LIKE ME have had and experienced.


    Please (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by andgarden on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 05:29:55 PM EST
    "people like you" was not intended to characterize Dr. Molly's life experience. Nor yours. It was directly solely at her apparent experience with MADD.

    I'm sorry you were offended.  


    Not offended, andgarden (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 05:34:33 PM EST
    I got you the first time you responded :)

    Whether MADD is or is not moving more (5.00 / 4) (#38)
    by Anne on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 01:25:49 PM EST
    toward restrictions on consumption of alcohol, in general, or not, it doesn't change the simple truth that people should not be drinking and driving.  Lord knows, I did it when I was a lot younger - probably your age, lol - and by the grace of God or a guardian angel or sheer luck, nothing terrible happened; so what?  It didn't make me any less stupid for doing it - in fact, it probably made it more likely that I did it more than once.  And it's probably the reason a lot of people do it all the time - because nothing happened the 47 times they did it before, they think nothing will happen the 48th time, either.

    I agree that making alcohol the forbidden fruit just makes it more attractive to young people - the thrill of doing something you're not supposed to be doing is just irresistible - and I'm sure the alcohol lobby would love to see fewer restrictions, but even if we became a society where offering children a small glass of wine with meals was the norm, it still would not eliminate the problem of people driving under the influence.  

    The truth is that no one ever knows, when they make the decision to get in the car, what awaits them on the road - my brother's best friend, his wife and two of their three children were killed when a young woman driving like a bat out of hell misjudged the distance in making a move to pass, clipped their bumper and sent my brother's friend's mini-van into a spin that became a rollover across a wide median and onto the other side of the highway.  There was no alcohol involved, but four people died that day.

    But add alcohol to the mix, and all bets are off.  You can work all you want to change the way we drink, but don't kid yourself that it would keep people from continuing to drink and drive.


    Exactly (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:23:49 AM EST
    Interlock ain't nothing..... (none / 0) (#64)
    by dcaster on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 06:32:06 PM EST
    The next step, I'm pretty sure, is to make SCRAM devices a more routine part of OVI/DUI sentencing....

    MADD is really a pernicious organization (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by andgarden on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:23:24 AM EST
    The propaganda they spread is often quite ridiculous, but otherwise smart people lap it up

    MADD is a one-issue advocacy (5.00 / 4) (#18)
    by oculus on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:00:35 PM EST
    group.  They speak from the heart, much like those who advocate on behalf, for instance, of gay marriage.  Not "pernicious" in my view.

    No, I think they're actually (none / 0) (#20)
    by andgarden on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:02:29 PM EST
    more like the people who advocate for school prayer and a national religion. As eric says, they are a neo-prohibitionist movement.

    The MADD members I met as (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by oculus on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:06:31 PM EST
    a prosecutor were only advocating against driving under the influence.

    Can you elaborate? (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Anne on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:05:00 PM EST
    I don't know enough about MADD to address their tactics or efforts, but I'm pretty sure that if my child or my husband or other family member had been killed by a drunk driver, I might be a little off-the-deep-end about wanting drunks off the road - and that really isn't about wanting to make alcohol illegal or starting a temperance movement - just about wanting people to have some regard for my life and the lives of the people I love, even if they don't care about their own safety - or are so convinced of their own superior booze-handling abilities and invincibility that it doesn't occur to them that they could be a problem.

    Aren't most laws about some kind of behavior?  I mean, beating people up, shooting and stabbing them, killing them, stealing from them, destroying their property - those are all behaviors we punish, aren't they?  And we punish them because they have shown that they are harmful to others.  Well, so is driving while intoxicated or impaired or under the influence - even if getting behind the wheel after one drink or ten doesn't result in an accident every time.  It is as potentially harmful as driving without your glasses or contacts - which is why we require vision tests and such, and why you can be punished for not complying.

    We know, though, that some people continue to drive, even with suspended or revoked licenses, even with no insurance - we read about accidents all the time where one driver has multiple convictions, no license, etc. - and someone died or was severely injured because the system failed.  I can understand why the state would want to monitor those convicted of DUI who still have the right to drive, but I think the state needs to pay for that monitoring, and the equipment, or at least adjust it according to people's ability to pay.  

    As for blood-alcohol levels, they're just numbers; someone with a higher tolerance might appear to be much less impaired than a reading would suggest, while someone else with the same reading might be at the other end of the spectrum.  

    As a parent, I have lived with the fear that arrives when one's children start to drive, start to go to parties, do not arrive home when expected, etc; funny how that puts a whole new spin on, "but it was only a couple of beers!"


    Just for example (none / 0) (#27)
    by andgarden on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:07:54 PM EST
    the laws that MADD supports make it more likely that kids will binge drink and then get behind the wheel of a car.

    But eric cites one of the departed founders above to give you an idea of what MADD has turned into.


    What is wrong with the device? (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by nyjets on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:31:07 AM EST
    I am sorry, but what is wrong with this device.
    Once a person is caught driving drunk, efforts should be made to make sure they do not do it again.
    And they are not reguried to use the device forever. They only have to use it for a year.
    The device may save some lives.

    There are valid reasons to drive impaired too.... (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by kdog on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 01:26:44 PM EST
    Say a medical emergency, and the only driver available has a .09 BAC

    It could save lives...but it could also get someone killed.  I'll take freedom, warts and all, over a safer tyranny anyday.  I've long ago learned to live with the fact that every time I get in the car I'm risking my life...mankind was not meant to travel in hunks of plastic and metal at 70 mph.  


    No kidding baby :) (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 01:34:00 PM EST
    ...mankind was not meant to travel in hunks of plastic and metal at 70 mph.

    But we love it man.  It really is the best Russian Roulette in the world.  Do you know how much power I hold in my hand at the wheel?  My son can't wait to drive.  And we paint it beautiful colors - even with flames, surround sound DVD, I have two with heated seats. We spend an enormous amount of our income on our favorite meat bullets too.  


    Call 911. (5.00 / 4) (#42)
    by oculus on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 01:37:36 PM EST
    And wait 20 minutes for an ambulance? (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by kdog on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 01:47:38 PM EST
    If I was the one bleeding, I'd rather hop in the car with the guy with a .09 myself.

    A DUI charge is no picnic without the new tyranny gadget...lawyer fees, loss of license, time in jail, loss of employment in some cases.  Thats enough of a deterrent, imo.  The cynic in me says the tyranny gadget manufacturer made a campaign contribution and hence we have yet another law in Illinois.


    Salmon? No? Maybe some herring? (5.00 / 4) (#55)
    by ryanwc on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 03:21:03 PM EST
    Ah, yes, the infamous "drunk driver is the only one who can get me to the emergency room" issue.  

    This may be even a little MORE likely than the old "we caught a terrorist and we have to torture him to track down the ticking nuclear weapon that he set to detonate right before we caught him".  

    But all in all, compared to the number of people injured and killed by drunk drivers, it won't happen very often at all.

    Hell, even in situations where the drunk driver is at the SCENE (because he caused the wreck) I bet you can't cite many cases where he rescued the injured.

    Me, I prefer pink salmon.  But there are those out there who love their red herring.


    Definitely unlikely.... (none / 0) (#56)
    by kdog on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 03:30:43 PM EST
    but it could happen, and something to think about before Illinois starts installing these tyranny gadgets.

    I just object to the twice an hour while (none / 0) (#10)
    by tigercourse on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:43:38 AM EST
    driving bit. Doesn't make sense and might be dangerous.

    Yes, it will (none / 0) (#11)
    by eric on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:48:06 AM EST
    save all of the lives that would have been erased by that evil .024 BAC.

    Seriously, what is wrong with it is this:  1)you have two glasses of wine after work, 2)you get busted, 3)you go to jail for a couple of days 3)you pay a fine, 4)you lose your license 5)your insurance rates go through the roof, 6)you can't drive to work, 7)to get your license back, you have to pay a massive reinstatement fee and THEN, you have to pay $110+ a month for a monitor for your car that will disable it if you use mouthwash?

    Does that sound reasonable for two glasses of wine?  .08 isn't dangerous, it is a new temperance movement.


    .08 is impaired: judgment, (5.00 / 5) (#21)
    by oculus on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:03:45 PM EST
    fine motor skills; all the things tested in correlation studies showing effects of a certain BA on skills needed for driving a motor vehicle.  Also, the effect of two glasses of wine after work depends on the body weight of the drinker and the length of time over which the wine is consumed before the drinker gets behind the wheel.  

    Tests apparently also show (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by andgarden on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:05:35 PM EST
    that aging and listening to the radio impair fine motor skills. But we don't talk much about that, now do we?

    Not a very subtle change of subject. (5.00 / 5) (#26)
    by oculus on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:07:43 PM EST
    yes, please stay on topic (none / 0) (#34)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:50:52 PM EST
    While I do not support interlocks (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by Makarov on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 02:10:50 AM EST
    for 1st time offenders, I will share some anecdotal evidence with you. I've had experience with alcohol and drug abusers for almost 20 years, and in that time encountered exactly one person who claimed that their arrest was the first time they ever drank and drove. The overwhelming majority broke the law many, many times before being caught; some hundreds of times. I'm sure there are a few people in this country who got busted the first time they drank too much and got behind the wheel. I'm equally sure that number is a tiny fraction of DUI's. Most are, in my view, habitual offenders, whether or not they also happen to be alcoholics.

    Whether this law will have the desired effect is a completely different issue. I do not believe that it will. There are many questions and situations about it, but a couple that come to mind are:

    1. If the interlock fails, does it do so only in such a way that it permits operation of the vehicle? I hope so, for emergency medical situations.

    2. What if an individual doesn't own a car, but his or her spouse does? Must it be installed on their vehicles? All the vehicles in a household?

    There are many ways to get around interlocks, but the most obvious is to simply transfer the ownership of a vehicle to someone else. For an alcoholic unwilling to do something about their problem, doing something like this to get around an interlock would be typical.

    Ever been around someone (none / 0) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 01:38:09 PM EST
    who means to drink and driving is involved?  This in my opinion won't stop the serious drinkers and drivers that will continue to offend almost no matter what.  It is only my opinion as well, but for the rest of the folks who get a DUI once in their lives....I think the usual fines end all future drinking and driving.  This device will only make those people even more miserable.  This will not stop serious offenders though, particularly if they have children.

    bond conditions (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Xclusionary Rule 4ever on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:35:27 AM EST
    Prosecutors in my (metro ATL) county are now filing motions to suspend the licenses of repeat offenders as a condition of pretrial bond.  We already have an administrative license suspension law that allows hard suspensions pretrial if the arrestee declines testing or blows over the limit.  For convoluted reasons, this was held not to constitute double jeopardy.   There is no limit to what these people will do to make themselves look important and increase their budgets.  

    So far, in GA, we only require ignition interlock devices after a second conviction within 10 years, after a 12 month hard suspension.  We have very few lawyers in our red state legislature and every year the prosecutors lobby gets everything they want.

    The alcohol interlocks reduce the number (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by JSN on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:53:18 AM EST
    of cases of driving under suspension, driving while restricted or driving while barred. They also make it possible for a person who lives in an area with no public transportation to go to work and shop for groceries.

    It started out as a jail alternative (instead of a jail sentence of a  week or work release where they were jailed at night and on weekends and were released to go to work). Now it is being used to increase the level of supervision of probation.

    If the judge is selective in the use of interlocks it is a reasonable jail alternative IMO. With some folks it would be a bad choice because any interlock can be circumvented.

    Seems to me that this requirement (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by DFLer on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 02:11:45 PM EST
    would be more appropriate for repeat offenders, or DUI offenders who continue to drive after their licenses have been lifted, etc. Seems a little harsh for first timers.

    This may be one way that Illinois (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Cream City on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 04:43:38 PM EST
    can deal with the drunk drivers crossing the border from Wisconsin -- where my fellow citizens boast the highest percentage of drunk drivers in the country.  Yes, they boast about it.  People from many other regions simply might not believe what the drinking culture can mean.  Its effect on college retention alone ought to worry us; I have witnessed many students washed out of school because they passed out too often in school.

    And there are more drivers from Wisconsin to Illinois these days for many reasons, including the insane level of taxation raised this year on cigarettes in Wisconsin, so there is much border-crossing on all sides of the state for lower prices.

    Of course, the fine legislators and governors of Wisconsin have refused for decades now to raise taxes even by a cent on beer and alcohol.  And the few legislators who attempted to change that have been mocked by state media . . . until lately.  There may a change coming to the north of Illinois, too, if an ongoing series in the major paper in Wisconsin is a sign (as it usually is); for what the drinking culture of parts of the upper Midwest can mean, see jsonline.com's "Wasted in Wisconsin" (sorry, links not working for me) for the front-page series for more than ten weeks now, day by day, county by county, death by death by drunk drivers

    Avoid this-don't drive drunk! (5.00 / 3) (#67)
    by diogenes on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 07:08:20 PM EST
    You only get one of these if you are convicted of a DWI.  There's no constitutional right to drive-that's why you get a drivers LICENSE.  
    If a person is convicted of DWI they should be grateful that they don't get a suspended license.  Repeat DWI offenders should be grateful that they don't get permanent revocations.

    That's easy to say (none / 0) (#69)
    by mexboy on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 07:16:55 PM EST
    But from what I understand alcoholism is a disease, and if it is a disease, then no amount of penalties will stop it.
    Treatment might.

    Drink & walk. (5.00 / 3) (#70)
    by Fabian on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 08:36:11 PM EST
    It's the driving part that I object to.  Someone stumbling down the sidewalk is hardly the same threat as some one behind the wheel.  As for riding a bike, I've never tried it, but people who have do NOT recommend it.  Bicycle riding while impaired is a....challenge.

    Take their license, take their wheels and if nothing works, take their freedom.  I'm all for treatment programs, but until we get Universal Health Care, it's only an option for the rich or lucky.


    That Is Illegal (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by squeaky on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 08:53:38 PM EST
    Public intoxication is a crime.

    Ha! (none / 0) (#74)
    by Fabian on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 10:42:23 PM EST
    They string up cable to keep the partying college students on the sidewalks and out of the streets on Friday nights.  (Pedestrian/vehicle accidents really ruin a party.)

    If public intoxication is a crime, then the police around here are seriously slacking.


    The Europeans have identified about five (none / 0) (#72)
    by JSN on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 08:58:34 PM EST
    types of behavior associated with alcohol abuse. The behavior can be modified in favorable cases by treatment. When things have progressed to the state where there is irreversible  damage to the brain and other organs we are talking about damage control not treatment.

    I know that alcoholism has been classified as a disease but there is no cure instead the patient is taught if they avoid the use of alcohol they can have a near normal life-style. Where treatment helps a lot is with dealing with relapses (a common problem in treating addictive behavior).

    When we started to screen people for substance abuse upon admission to prison we discovered people who had returned two or more times for DUI that had never been treated for alcoholism. I guess the judge must have been hoping for a miracle.


    "disease" (none / 0) (#80)
    by diogenes on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 09:29:06 PM EST
    Alcoholism is a disease; people may not entirely not choose to get drunk.  Choosing to drive while drunk is a choice and if people really cannot choose not to drive drunk then these ignition interlock devices can do the choosing for them.

    My friend (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by Lena on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 10:30:54 PM EST
    whose brother is/was an alcoholic, pointed out to me a while back that the real problem with DUI is that after an alcoholic has 2 drinks, their judgment is impaired enough at that point that they have an inability to evaluate the effect of further drinking on their ability to drive. In essence, she doesn't blame her brother for all his driving under the influence, nor does she blame any of those people who drunkenly kill others. With respect to her brother, she thinks the problem is intractable; that no law can contain an untreated/untreatable alcoholic when it comes to driving. I suspect that she would love her brother to have one of these devices on his car; and would furthermore probably report him to any sort of alcoholic-reporting, non-punitive government agency, and request that they install one of these thingamajigs on his car, but for free. Sort of like how the children of dementia sufferers can call their state DMVs in some areas and anonymously request that their parent's driving skills be tested. I'm not serious, of course; such an idea would be subject to all sorts of abuse, but if this was cheap enough and available enough for people to install in their own cars, I'm sure these items would be snapped up. I for one would buy them for a couple of family members.

    That's why (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Fabian on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 10:55:07 PM EST
    "Don't Drink And Drive" is the rule.

    Now if you drink all the time, it obviously cramps your style to follow that rule.  Of course, they don't think they have a problem because they spend so much time impaired that that is their "normal" state.  Their POV is not our POV.  We see someone who has a problem being sober and they see someone who just likes to have a drink(or four) with their friends.  And they've driven home after a hundred times just fine!

    We see the dangerous pattern that led to their accident and they see a single, solitary mistake and hey, everyone makes a mistake once in a while.

    Sometimes it's a relief to have the law step in and be the Bad Guy so we don't have to play that role.


    I don't get the twice every hour part. (none / 0) (#2)
    by tigercourse on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:15:51 AM EST
    Is the idea that a driver might be sober when he gets in the car, but is going to crack open a couple of six packs on his 12 hour trip to Disney World? The seems unlikely to me.

    If the driver consumed alcoholic (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by oculus on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:59:25 AM EST
    beverages shortly before getting behind the wheel, the BA would go up for awhile.  

    Also ensures (5.00 / 5) (#30)
    by rdandrea on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:14:21 PM EST
    that the driver didn't get someone else to blow into the "blow 'n go" just to get the car started.

    If one was getting behind the wheel (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Amiss on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:17:27 PM EST
    after a nite at the bar and only lived a short distance away, which is probably where most of these accidents occur, not on long trips.

    The actual time interval is random (none / 0) (#35)
    by rdandrea on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:53:19 PM EST
    It just has to occur twice in an hour.

    This sounds dangerous. (none / 0) (#5)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:27:45 AM EST
    Drivers will have to blow into the device again within the first 5 to 15 minutes of a trip, then at least twice every hour.

    So a two hour trip will require about four interactions with the device whilr the trip is in progress.  This kind of distraction while driving will almost certainly cause a crash sooner or later.

    There is time given to pull over. (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Cream City on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 06:50:03 PM EST
    This is not a major problem with these devices.

    There are other problems, though, as in with malfunctioning -- because every single d*mned machine ever made will malfunction some time . . . but with a lower incidence rate than that of drunk driving in my state.  I.e., humans malfunction more.

    (There was a good informational article on these devices, the pluses and minuses, in my local media a while ago.)


    That's what I thought. (none / 0) (#61)
    by nycstray on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 05:10:58 PM EST
    What if you are driving down the freeway? And what happens if you don't pass after you've managed to take the test without crashing into anything?

    It does seem (none / 0) (#76)
    by eric on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:52:50 PM EST
    untenable.  For example, today I drove to work and was caught in a traffic jam caused by a major crash.  My trip was extended from the usual 30 minutes to about 1 hour, 20 minutes.  Would one have to blow some sort of test in the middle lane of I-94 while stuck in traffic?  What happens if you don't do it?  Does the car shut off?  Does it report you as delinquent?

    Ads on radio here in SoCal (none / 0) (#6)
    by nellre on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 11:28:30 AM EST
    Still repeating the serious mistake of warning people to not drive drunk because of all the checkpoints.
    They are misinforming instead of educating.
    A blood level of .08 is not drunk, it's impaired for most people.

    MADD is to drinking as (none / 0) (#33)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 12:36:58 PM EST
    gun control nuts are to shooting.

    Can't we all just be a little wobbly on the (none / 0) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 01:25:47 PM EST
    subway :)?  Just taking a sec to jump onto one of my fave soapboxes.  If we all had more and used more public transportation.......I don't care if ya'll show up a little wobbly and giggly after the party :)  And another second for some concern.  I hope that MADD realizes that for people who have REAL addiction to alcohol.  They have increased the chances of some poor alcoholics kid being in the vehicle during the drive if one takes place :(

    My friend got a ticket (none / 0) (#47)
    by CST on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 02:04:09 PM EST
    For being "drunk" on the subway in NY.

    I thought that was odd - wouldn't you RATHER they were drunk on the subway???

    It wasn't even disorderly conduct, he was passed-out on one of the seats, not bothering anyone, and with friends who would wake him up at his stop.


    I realize that we need to have (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 02:18:35 PM EST
    some laws governing public intoxication.  I've never been ticketed for being giggly though or slightly uncoordinated.

    Bloomberg (none / 0) (#50)
    by squeaky on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 02:22:48 PM EST
    Treats NYers as cash cows for his corporation called NYC.

    Corporation or Crime Family? (none / 0) (#51)
    by kdog on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 02:30:18 PM EST
    Do corporations send men with guns to make the collections?

    Security Forces (none / 0) (#52)
    by squeaky on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 02:34:56 PM EST
    Although the emphasis is on increasing revenue, harassment is a secondary pleasure.

    Have you seen the guy with the (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 04:07:18 PM EST
    video camera who tapes law enforcement in NY breaking the laws, confronts them, and then puts them on youtube?  I ran across a program about him before the holidays.  He claims that NY law enforcement thinks they are a bunch of lawless cowboys with authority.  I found him very interesting and possibly even a public necessity.

    No (none / 0) (#77)
    by squeaky on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:02:08 AM EST
    I don't think I saw that. I did see the KopBuster video from Odessa Texas..

    And the video where the cop pushed the cyclist and then arrested him, during the critical mass bicycle protest..

    Do you have a link?


    He calls himself Jimmy Justice (none / 0) (#81)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 05:58:22 PM EST
    I went looking for him after I posted this because I couldn't remember his name.  Try Jimmy Justice on youtube, it gets pretty interesting at times.

    Wow (none / 0) (#82)
    by squeaky on Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 06:29:59 PM EST
    Hope he does not wind up in the pokey, he has taken on a biiiiig job. I do not think I have ever seen a traffic cop car ever parked legally. They do as they please.

    This is Orwelian (none / 0) (#41)
    by mexboy on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 01:36:33 PM EST
    I don't like all the surveillance of citizens we already have.

    Sure, its only DD's now... give it time.

    People who are caught driving drunk should be penalized and provided some sort of rehab, if caught again the punishment should be incremental.

    I don't like the government baby sitting adults.

    This is an alternative to jail time (5.00 / 3) (#66)
    by Cream City on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 06:50:51 PM EST
    in many states.  Now, being behind bars -- that's surveillance.

    I support alternatives to jail time (none / 0) (#68)
    by mexboy on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 07:10:22 PM EST
    But I don't think this one solves the problem, and I think we are getting too comfortable with being monitored 24/7. I think there's a real danger there.

    A real alternative would be treatment, in my opinion.


    Public safety police powers. (none / 0) (#44)
    by oculus on Mon Dec 29, 2008 at 01:38:45 PM EST