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Thread: Md., Va. consider ignition breathalyzers for first offense

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Md., Va. consider ignition breathalyzers for first offense

    The movement to rid the roads of drunk drivers is nearing a watershed as states increasingly mandate the use of ignition breathalyzers for first-time offenders.

    The political will to require their use will be tested this week in Richmond and in Annapolis, when lawmakers consider following the lead of 12 other states where a first conviction results in mandatory use. Ten other states are debating whether to take the same step.

    The proposed laws face fierce opposition from the American Beverage Institute. The restaurant trade association supports requiring the devices for repeat offenders and those judged to be heavy drinkers but argues that a judge should be free to decide for first-time offenders with readings just over the legal limit.

    Congress is also considering whether it should push states to mandate the breathalyzers for first-time offenders by withholding federal highway funds.

    The breathalyzers, called ignition interlock devices, are not new, but the technology has grown more sophisticated. They won't let the engine start until the driver successfully breathes into a device, which looks similar to a TV remote control.

    Ignition interlocks are seen by advocates as the most effective tool to come along since the campaign against drunken driving began 30 years ago.

    "Punishment doesn't work," said Maryland state Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Montgomery), lead sponsor of the bill in Annapolis. "That's why we have such a high recidivism rate."

    Federal data compiled two years ago showed that 25,120 Maryland drivers had three or more drunken-driving convictions, almost 4,000 had five or more and nearly 70 had more than 10. In the District, 34 drivers had more than three convictions. No data were available from Virginia.

    The push to require interlocks for first-time offenders is a clear-cut imperative for Raskin: "If you're opposed to this bill, it's just immoral."

    He and other advocates contend that someone who gets caught driving drunk almost certainly has escaped detection many times.

    "First-time offenders probably are chronic offenders," said Lon Anderson of AAA Mid-Atlantic, which backs the idea.

    Maryland Del. William A. Bronrott (D-Montgomery) said opposition would come from those in "the alcohol beverage industry, who think this is going to hurt their business."

  2. #2
    "First-time offenders probably are chronic offenders,"
    That's the stupidest thing I've heard all week. This is just another power grab by the governments.

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieseleverything View Post
    That's the stupidest thing I've heard all week. This is just another power grab by the governments.
    It is - and I wonder whether it ever occurred to these geniuses that if a guy wants to drive drunk, nothing's stopping him from buying a car without a Breathalyzer in it (or stealing one).

    It's just another way to increase costs for car owners (wait and see; all new cars will eventually have these things), enhance the profits of some cheesy corporation with a lobbyist in Richmond - and give more power to the government.

  4. #4
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    One word: make money money money, make money money..

    Wait, was that more than one?

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dom View Post
    One word: make money money money, make money money..

    Wait, was that more than one?
    You mean, steal money. This isn't voluntary exchange; you or me buying something because we want it or need it. It is people being forced to by some fucking thing by the government - a very different thing!

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