Legislation has been introduced this year that would require mandatory ignition interlock devices as a condition of license reinstatement, for anyone convicted of a first offense DWI in New York. The legislation has a lot of support in both houses, and is designated as Senate Bill 27B and Assembly Bill 7196A. An ignition interlock is a small device that connects to your car ignition. You must blow into the device, and if it detects any measurable quantity of alcohol (typically a level of .02 or .o25, often no more than one drink), it will log a failure, and refuse to allow the car to start.
Requiring a ignition interlock on every first offense DWI conviction has been a top priority of MADD for years. However, they made no distinction between a very marginal case of .08% BAC, and much higher levels typically found in cases of accidents where alcohol is believed to be a factor.
That’s why many states take a more measured approach, requiring an interlock device on a first offense DWI only in the case of a high BAC, typically at something close to twice the legal limit. A high BAC level is much more indicitive of a person with an alcohol problem who could be a real danger on the road.
But MADD isn’t interested in fairness. To them, someone who makes a one time mistake deserves the punishment of a multiple offender, since they often claim that many drunk drivers have done so before, but not been caught. Innocent until proven guilty isn’t sufficient for them.
Also in their press release is a stated desire for all vehicles to ultimately have an interlock device built in by the factory. The zealots at MADD don’t think you should be able to have a single glass of wine at a party and drive home, something that is a perfectly legal activity in every state.
The slow erosion of our rights is continues with this kind of effort.
No one is favor of impaired driving. We understand it is a real problem. But the solution is to target the chronic alcohol abusers with tough penalties for high BAC offenses that also stress alcohol treatment programs, to address the actual problem.