Law mandating ignition devices for DUI offenders takes effect

Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 1:02pm

Just in time for tipsy New Year’s revelers who made the mistake of getting behind the wheel, a state law takes effect Saturday mandating ignition interlocks for the worst drunken drivers.

The new law requires interlock devices, which force a motorist to blow into a tube before the car’s ignition will work, for all offenders who are convicted of driving with a blood alcohol content of .15 or higher. That’s nearly twice the legal driving limit of .08.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving wanted to mandate interlocks for all first-time offenders, but the legislature refused to enact a bill to do that in the last session and adopted the weaker version unanimously.

“Our legislators firmly believe that it’s a wonderful first step to get us where we need to be. So we just had to go with that,” said Laura Dial, Tennessee MADD director. “It’s hard for me to really understand why” lawmakers opposed the tougher law.

The sponsors, Republicans Rep. Tony Shipley of Kingsport and Sen. Mae Beavers of Mount Juliet, said their law will save lives. But in the eight states where similar laws have been enacted, there have been no fewer drunken driving deaths, Dial said.

Tougher laws are in force in New Mexico and Arizona. In those states, which mandate interlocks for all offenders, deaths have dropped 30 percent, Dial said.

“That’s just amazing,” she said. “In Tennessee, that means we could possibly save 100 lives each year.”

In 2009, the last year for which the numbers are available, 303 people were killed in Tennessee in highway accidents involving drunken drivers. Twenty-one percent of those arrested in Tennessee for DUI between 2002 and 2007 were arrested again.

Under the new law, offenders will have to pay an increased fine to cover the cost of installing interlocks. Part of that money goes to a fund to pay for indigent offenders.

Also under the new law, someone convicted of DUI with a minor in the vehicle and those drivers who refuse to take a breath test or blood test at the time of the DUI arrest are required to have an interlock installed in their vehicles. 

43 Comments on this post:

By: JohnGalt on 12/28/10 at 2:00

The way Woods has written this article is appears conviction in court is no longer necessary in order to impose legal sanctions.

By: JohnGalt on 12/28/10 at 2:32

Looks like Woods revised history.

By: dargent7 on 12/28/10 at 2:40

This seems fair. As a mal-practicing bartender, I know when someone is 'drunk".
The problem is I don't know how many drinks they've had prior to sitting at my bar or any meds they've taken.
In the hour they spend with me, the interactions can become complex.
But, a 0.15 BAC is fair to convict someone of attempted vehicular homicide and require the ignition locks.

By: spooky24 on 12/28/10 at 2:56

"In those states, which mandate interlocks for all offenders, deaths have dropped 30 percent"
I would love to see the data that backs that up-more than likely is just made up.

This is just political fodder since the real problem is unsolvable. Just look at the daily arrest in Nashville:

http://www.police.nashville.org/dailyarrest/index.asp

You will notice that about 25-30 people are arrested for no drivers license. These are people who have never had a license and could care less about getting one. 90% of these individuals are here illegally and they know there is nothing you can do to stop them from drinking and driving-or just driving at all. They are arrested, booked, searched and then just let go because there is no where to put them. So they do it again and again. If you tried to deport and of the far left media will throw a fit because of compassion-really all they want is the democratic votes they might become. Some have been picked up-for no license at all-more than 15 times and just let out again. The violent criminals take up most of the jail space. This leads to Americans with a drivers license getting punished and the real criminals just do it over and over. You will also notice persons arrested-and quickly let go-for having someone else blow in the tube-well duh.
This really get tiresome reading these reports everyday and knowing how our legal system is being used-and of course these same people can walk into any hospital and get first class treatment-it's just a shame.
This article and this law are just ashes blowing in the wind-they mean absolutely nothing.

sp

By: TITAN1 on 12/28/10 at 3:43

Spooky, are you really comparing driving without a license to driving while impaired or driving under the influence. Yes, everyone who drives should have a license, but to compare it to drunk driving is crazy. LOL, you turned this article into an illegal immigrant gripe.

Positive people always look at the glass half full and make the best of it and are happy most of the time. Negative people always find it half empty and complain and are miserable most of the time.

By: richgoose on 12/28/10 at 10:51

If you consider the fact that this country is perhaps at it's most ridiculous point in history then this law is certainly in concert with that.

By: Loner on 12/29/10 at 6:26

The Mothers Against Drunk Drivers are a sacrosanct, elite group of professional zealots. They have a hammer-lock on commitment and a monopoly on rectitude as well as certitude. After all, everything that they do is, "FOR THE CHILDREN". Who would dare to step out in front of that parade?

If it wasn't for the crusading efforts of the MADD, thousands of lawyers would have to find honest work. They are a key element in today's nanny-state environment.

By: richgoose on 12/29/10 at 7:02

LONER.......You are dead on the money!

I am not teetotaler but I drink in an almost minimum way. Obviously I have never been arrested for a DUI. I make that statement so that I can make this one. NO LAW IS MORE UNFAIR THAN THE DUI LAW.

The law is based on potential harm not actual harm. The law for carrying a gun without a permit is not administered in the same way as a DUI.

Nevertheless the MADD organization is an effective weapon against a lot of people who could have lived 300 years and never run afoul of another law.

By: TITAN1 on 12/29/10 at 7:25

frank brown, I'll pray that you nor any of your loved ones(if you have any) don't get hit by a drunk driver.

Positive people always look at the glass half full and make the best of it and are happy most of the time. Negative people always find it half empty and complain and are miserable most of the time.

By: JohnGalt on 12/29/10 at 8:48

I assume any driver of the car on which the device is installed will have to blow into it...dad, mom, kids, next door neighbor, car thief. Also, if the car stalls in traffic, will another blow be required while frantically trying to avoid the other cars around you?

By: richgoose on 12/29/10 at 9:53

TITAN1......People who are positive about negative things usually do not make very much money. Sometimes they are like a duck. They wake up in a new world every day. For some that is a blessing!

By: Loner on 12/29/10 at 10:10

Thank you, richgoose.

Let me be clear. I am not condoning or advocating driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. I am simply trying to point out the fact that whenever professional zealots take up a worthy cause, eventually, agenda expansion, mission creep, arrogance. hubris and self-delusion enter into the equation. Examples of this phenomenon abound.

By: JohnGalt on 12/29/10 at 10:45

Loner...Here's a sample of how rabid the local MAAD women are:

http://www.newschannel5.com/story/13752232/new-tn-dui-offender-law-not-enough-for-advocacy-group

By: girliegirl on 12/29/10 at 10:55

Plus, they leave court...and get in their car...and DRIVE home. (news from the past )

By: girliegirl on 12/29/10 at 10:55

Plus, they leave court...and get in their car...and DRIVE home. (news from the past )

By: girliegirl on 12/29/10 at 11:07

okay, someone explain how that post magically replicated itself while I was out of the room....

By: girliegirl on 12/29/10 at 11:09

@John...don't you recall all of the media stories showing the DUI offenders handing over their licenses, yet...the camera person followed them to their cars and they drove away. Seriously! It was beyond stupid. Plus, reporters would follow them around days later. The perps would claim, "Oh, I had to get to work" and some other nonsense.

By: girliegirl on 12/29/10 at 11:10

And....Channel 5 showed prior convictions on those guys...some as many as 7 or more. That shows that our system didn't really work. (just sayin')

By: TITAN1 on 12/29/10 at 11:15

frankbrown/richgoose, just curious. Why would you portray yourself to be wealthy on a message board where people gather to post their opinions on various subjects? People you don't even know at that. It is obvious it is just an act. Is that all you have to look forward to, trying to fool people on a forum?

Positive people always look at the glass half full and make the best of it and are happy most of the time. Negative people always find it half empty and complain and are miserable most of the time.

By: yogiman on 12/29/10 at 11:23

TITAN1,

May I comment about your comment to Spooky's remark about illegal drivers. As I have noticed before, it seems, on occasion, not one comment is posted about the written article.

I would think the difference between drunk driving and illegal aliens driving without a license would be pretty equal. I would consider both being illegal driving.

The mention of them being released to get in their car and get back on the road makes me wonder; Why can't other police departments follow the sheriff in Arizona's method and set up a "camp" for offenders?

By: girliegirl on 12/29/10 at 11:26

@JohnGalt...."blow into in the middle of traffic" because of a stall? or...maybe because they're too drunk and ran off the road...? (just sayin') The whole idea is to get them off the road, however and whenever possible. Don't wait until they've killed your whole family.

By: richgoose on 12/29/10 at 11:27

TITAN1......Because of people like you it has become pure entertainment for me.

People in general are angry and highly opinionated. I try very hard to give them some reason to vent their defense of opinions as well as their anger.

By: TITAN1 on 12/29/10 at 11:30

yogiman, as I said, driving without a license is illegal, but not near as deadly as driving drunk. That was my point.

Positive people always look at the glass half full and make the best of it and are happy most of the time. Negative people always find it half empty and complain and are miserable most of the time.

By: TITAN1 on 12/29/10 at 11:32

No frank, you just want to feel like everyone is beneath you. I pity you.

Positive people always look at the glass half full and make the best of it and are happy most of the time. Negative people always find it half empty and complain and are miserable most of the time.

By: girliegirl on 12/29/10 at 12:02

Hey guys...driving w/o a license AND drunk was my point. LOL THAT'S what's going on in NashVegas these days. :-)

By: richgoose on 12/29/10 at 12:13

TITAN1.......How in the world would you come to the conclusion that I feel like everyone is beneath me? With few exceptions the only thing I have ever been accused of is singing too loud in church?

Surely someone as positive about nothing as you are would not be succumbing to paranoia wold you?

By: house_of_pain on 12/29/10 at 12:16

Since the court cannot force them to use the same vehicle forever, there will be ways to circumvent this law.

By: TITAN1 on 12/29/10 at 12:25

frank, everyone sees right through you, but I am the only one who will point it out.

Back to this law, I am for anything that will help get drunk drivers off the road.

Positive people always look at the glass half full and make the best of it and are happy most of the time. Negative people always find it half empty and complain and are miserable most of the time.

By: dargent7 on 12/29/10 at 1:23

John G.: Great point. This "Breathalizer is better than a "LoJack" theft deterrent system.
The thief has to blow to start the car, doesn't know the unlock codes or is high, and moves on.
Brilliant.
I wonder when PepBoys will have them on the shelves.

By: richgoose on 12/29/10 at 1:43

TITAN1........Are you as fervent at getting repeat offenders of robbery,killing,abuse,mayhem,burglary off the streets? I would certainly hope so!

By: TITAN1 on 12/29/10 at 2:00

I'm all for getting all criminals including drunk drivers.

Positive people always look at the glass half full and make the best of it and are happy most of the time. Negative people always find it half empty and complain and are miserable most of the time.

By: richgoose on 12/29/10 at 2:07

TITAN1........As I have said to you many times, you are a very good person gullible you may be.

I know this will go right over your head but a half empty glass and and half full glass have aboslutely nothing to do with being negative,miserable or happy or realistic.

By: yogiman on 12/29/10 at 2:33

TATIN1,

If you don't know if the glass was ever filled up, how can you determine if it is half full or half empty?

Back in the old days, when a man was picked up for drunk driving they were simply put in jail until they sobered up, then sent home. Ah yes, the times they are a changing.

By: TITAN1 on 12/29/10 at 3:37

Glad you boys are noticing my signature, maybe some of my positive vibes will rub off on you. Drunk driving is a lot more serious now with so many vehicles on the road and more drunk drivers behind the wheel. If you defend it, you are part of the problem.

Positive people always look at the glass half full and make the best of it and are happy most of the time. Negative people always find it half empty and complain and are miserable most of the time.

By: TITAN1 on 12/29/10 at 3:39

frank, don't get more stupid on me.

Positive people always look at the glass half full and make the best of it and are happy most of the time. Negative people always find it half empty and complain and are miserable most of the time.

By: yogiman on 12/29/10 at 8:39

TITAN1,

I always look at it as; Well, half of its gone now I'll have to finish the other half.

And I use the thought that smiles create less wrinkles than frowns. I smile a lot.

By: govskeptic on 12/30/10 at 6:40

Another devise by the Military-Industrial complex to keep their companies
together till the next or bigger war! Not that I'm saying whatsoever these
devices are not a good idea. It's another money maker for these
companies that will be some revenue for Metro as well. Like the over
stated use and selling of Red Light Cameras as a safety device.

By: Loner on 12/30/10 at 11:17

Thanks for the link, John Galt.

If only I had had the foresight to see the advent of the nanny-state, when I was a young man and shrewdly invested in nanny-state technologies, I'd be a rich man today.

I should have invested in these goldmine industries:

Drug testing technologies

Taser technologies

Breathalyzer technologies

Alcohol-activated Ignition lock-out technologies

The rehab industries

Private enterprise incarceration alternatives

and a few others....I should have seen it coming.

Yes, there is money to be made in those fields. They are largely immune from natural market forces and they are capable of getting laws enacted which benefit their narrow special interests. They all have lofty mission statements and powerful lobbies. They have their statistics, their horror stories and their professional spokespeople. There is no relief in sight...good ideas soon become the law.

I will predict that someday soon, crash helmets will be required for all vehicle occupants (cars and trucks...buses too). They'll start with requiring them for the kids, then increase the market to include adults later, once we are all used to the idea.

By: TITAN1 on 12/30/10 at 8:37

You would have invested well and for a good cause.

Positive people always look at the glass half full and make the best of it and are happy most of the time. Negative people always find it half empty and complain and are miserable most of the time.

By: Loner on 12/31/10 at 11:50

You keep sucking down that "Good Cause" flavored Kool-aid, Titan1....self-bullshitization is a survival mechanism. ..you are a survivor.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/10 at 1:58

LOL!

Positive people always look at the glass half full and make the best of it and are happy most of the time. Negative people always find it half empty and complain and are miserable most of the time.

By: msslau on 1/2/11 at 1:31

I'm a member of DAMM, dads against mad mothers .

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