Mandated Ignition Interlocks for DWI — T.F. Stern

BY T.F. STERN

The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act being considered in Washington would set aside “$25 million per year to states that require the devices to be installed in vehicles of anyone convicted of driving under the influence”; however the bill also has a provision which would mandate those installations in all 50 states according to an article by Joshua Rhett Miller on the Fox News website.  Not everyone favors this legislation, the American Beverage Institute leads the pack; does that surprise anyone?

Managing director Sarah Longwell had a reasonable point, “Interlocks should only be mandated for people who are 0.15 BAC or above on their first offense or who have multiple offenses at any level,” she said. “Below that 0.15 level, a judge should be involved in whether or not the offender gets an interlock.”

I agree, at least in part; “a judge should be involved in whether or not the offender gets an interlock”.  Mandates which use the shotgun approach tend to destroy liberty rather than protect the “innocent”.  Let the judge determine the need; under most circumstances it would be reasonable to require a convicted DWI violator to install an ignition interrupt device, either that or relinquish his/her driving privileges.

“In 2010, more than 10,000 people in the U.S. were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that alcohol detection devices could save nearly 8,000 lives annually.”

Another reason not to like this provision of The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act is the $25 million per year set aside, that’s $25 million tax payer dollars to install these interlock devices to prevent a convicted DWI violator from starting his/her vehicle without first testing their breath to make sure it is within legal levels.  Why should the taxpayers have to pay for this?  The convicted DWI violator should pay for all required equipment and installation, not the taxpayers.

“Michael Boldin, executive director of the Tenth Amendment Center, said he disagreed with the “one-size-fits-all solution” behind the provision, particularly given that 42 states have already weighed in on whether to put ignition interlock laws on the books.”

“Every time we set that precedent that the federal government can mandate on the states certain rules or regulations, then the next time that something bigger comes up — perhaps a health care mandate — then there’s already the building blocks for this type of power that’s been allowed in the past,” he told FoxNews.com.”

Somebody explain to me why The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act includes a provision mandating DWI violators install ignition interlock devices in their automobiles.  I get it, the bill has to do with disbursement of $260 billion, $493 million for federal highway safety grants.  This is nothing more than a carrot held at the end of a stick; you want the money, you have to march to the music.  The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act is another power grab by the federal government.

The Moral Lib­eral asso­ciate edi­tor, T.F. Stern, is a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer, self-employed lock­smith, and gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since Jan­u­ary of 2005.