Your Best Friend: The Ignition Interlock

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ignitionAs you are leaving a friend’s 50th birthday party, your friend runs out to meet you.

“Hey, have you been drinking?” he asks.

You stop dead in your tracks. You have had a few beers, but you also ate a big dinner. Are you okay to drive? You didn’t accept that free martini. Perhaps you are all right, but regardless, your friend convinces you to leave your car at the party and catch a ride with him, not letting you drive.

You were questioning it. Were you okay to drive? 

When you consume alcohol, as your BAC level increases, your judgment and decision-making abilities decrease. Not only does your vision get a little blurry, but so does the decision process. It only makes sense that it is difficult to judge whether or not you are able to drive.

Unfortunately, we all don’t have that friend to say that you shouldn’t drive. But what if there was a way to have that friend, without actually having them? The alcohol ignition interlock device is that loyal friend. The alcohol ignition interlock device prevents an individual from operating a vehicle if he or she has been drinking.

This device has a handheld breath alcohol tester connected to the ignition switch. In order to even start the car, the driver needs to blow into the (disposable) mouthpiece.

In some states, these are mandatory after an individual is convicted multiple times for driving drunk. States like Ohio are trying to make it mandatory for first time offenders.  Louisiana’s law states that this ignition interlock is required for a first offense if the driver’s BAC was 2.0 or higher.

Should these be utilized even more, though?

In July, new federal legislation was proposed increasing the usage of this device. If made law, all drunk-driving offenders would be required to install this device for six months, at a minimum. All states would be forced to comply or their transportation funding would be decreased.


Photo Credit: <a href=””>Danny Baza Blas</a> via <a href=””>Compfight</a> <a href=””>cc</a>

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By George Vourvoulias

George is a founding member and managing member of Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias L.L.C., a New Orleans law firm. George concentrates his practice in maritime personal injury, construction litigation, personal injury, workers' compensation, medical malpractice, and DUI defense. George Vourvoulias's Google+ Profile