Waging the Battle against Drunk Driving: Issues, Countermeasures, and Effectiveness

By Gerald D. Robin | Go to book overview

11
Non-Cruel and Unusual Punishment

IGNITION INTERLOCKS

An ingenious preventive drunk driving innovation is the ignition interlock system, a technology that can prevent alcohol-impaired drivers from starting their cars. The driver blows into a hand-held breath analyzer (see photo 11.1) that is linked to a microprocessor in a small ignition-locking device under the dashboard. If the driver does not use or pass the BAC test, the car will not start. 1 Each interlock system can be selectively programmed to set the pass/fail BAC reading at any level. Most places using interlock sentences for convicted offenders require absolute sobriety (0.00 BAC), while others have set the interlock at more than one beer or at .05 BAC. 2 In California, which adopted statewide use of the interlock system in September 1986, the ignition will not work if the BAC is above .03. 3

In December 1988, New York became the eleventh state to pass a law promoting the use of "interlock sentences" as a condition of probation or (less often) of license restoration; and thirty states introduced interlock legislation in their 1989 legislative sessions. 4 The system is so promising that over 200 judges around the country, acting pursuant to the enabling legislation or on their own authority, are ordering convicted drunk drivers--particularly repeat offenders and first offenders with very high BACs--to have the ignition inter-

-93-

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Waging the Battle against Drunk Driving: Issues, Countermeasures, and Effectiveness
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 - The Drunk Driving Problem 1
  • 2 - Coming to Grips with Drunk Driving 7
  • 3 - The Police Response to Drunk Drivers 21
  • 4 - Sobriety Checkpoints 29
  • 5 - Preliminary Breath Tests 43
  • 6 - Administrative License Suspension 49
  • 7 - Prosecuting Drunk Drivers 57
  • 8 - Defending Drunk Drivers 67
  • 9 - Mandatory Sentences for Drunk Drivers 73
  • 10 - Impact of Mandatory Sentences on the Criminal Justice System 87
  • 11 - Non-Cruel and Unusual Punishment 93
  • 12 - Third Party Liability for Alcohol-Related Accidents 99
  • 13 - Deterring Drunk Driving 109
  • Notes 119
  • Selected Bibliography 135
  • Index 139
  • About the Author 145
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