The Portsmouth, Virginia CBS affiliate television station, WAVY, has reported that ignition interlock devices may be the cause of injures and death on the roadways. Not only are false positives a problem for those using the devices, but distractions from the alerts and blowing into the devices while driving have caused crashes.
According to the news report posted May 16, 2019, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles indicates that the number of crashes due to the device has gone up from 407 in 2012 to 678 in 2016. That is an increase of 67% in 4 years!
The news report quotes Shelia Dunn with the National Motorist Association about the situation. She was reported as stating, “It can be deadly. A woman in Texas was killed in 2017 because of it. She was pulling out of her driveway and a man was trying to blow into his device and he ran into her.” Interestingly, when the television station inquired about such problems, the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) declined to comment about any personal stories about interlock or to participate in an on-camera interview.
These problems are not limited to the Commonwealth of Virginia. There are many problems with these devices all across the country. While it is undisputed that ignition interlocks provide the benefits of some safeguards against drinking and driving, there has been little effort to deal with the dangers of using these devices while on the roadway. Users of these devices should contact the legislators in their home states to request appropriate changes in the legal requirements for ignition interlocks used in their state. Let’s not forget the primary purpose of these devices is to keep our roads safe.
About the Author: Steven Oberman has been licensed in Tennessee since 1980, and successfully defended over 2,500 DUI defendants. Among the many honors bestowed upon him, Steve served as Dean of the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. (NCDD) and currently serves as chair of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers DUI Committee. Steve was the first lawyer in Tennessee to be Board Certified as a DUI Defense Specialist by the NCDD.
He is the author of DUI: The Crime & Consequences in Tennessee, updated annually since 1991 (Thomson-West), and co-author with Lawrence Taylor of the national treatise, Drunk Driving Defense, 8th edition (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen). Steve has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee Law School since 1993 and has received a number of prestigious awards for his faculty contributions. He is a popular international speaker, having spoken at legal seminars in 30 states, the District of Columbia and three foreign countries. In 2019, he was honored to be named a Fulbright Scholar and taught at the University of Latvia Law School as an Adjunct Professor during the Spring Semester in 2019.
If you would like to contact the author, please visit his website.