Lawmakers crafting ignition interlock rules for Maryland DUIs

The ignition interlock device is designed to prevent drivers who have been drinking from starting their cars. The driver must blow into a tube that leads to the hand-held device which calculates the driver’s blood alcohol content. A raised level disables the car’s ignition.

The Maryland legislature is currently debating mandatory installation of these devices for certain DUI offenders in the state. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) endorses this type of effort, and a strong version of it.

Debate in the Maryland legislature has centered on which DUI offenders should have to get the interlock device installed in their cars. The House passed bill states that any driver who is caught driving with a 0.15 BAC level or more has to use the device.

Some, like MADD members, argued that the 0.15 limit wasn’t good enough. They thought the legal limit of 0.08 should be enough for any offender to have to have to use the ignition interlock device. But supporters of the bill as-is argue that the 0.15 limit is sufficient to improve safety on Maryland roads.

The House bill also requires that repeat drunk driving offenders and underage DUI offenders will have to have ignition interlock devices put in their cars. Critics of the bill worry that its measures would put people’s freedoms at risk. Plus, will the devices be reliable? Driving is an important aspect of everyday life, often with one’s career depending on that freedom.

What do you think of interlock devices? Should they be required for anyone? If so, who? The question remains how to balance intervention and intrusion in citizens lives.

Source: The Baltimore Sun (Blog): “House gives initial nod to interlock bill,” Annie Linskey, 23 Mar. 2011

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