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MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving

MADD's campaign to “eliminate drunk driving” is reaching new levels with its proposal to “turn cars into the cure”. The campaign is focussing on supporting advanced alcohol detection technology which would eventually be required in all new cars. The technology would allow the car to determine if the driver is at or above the legal limit of alcohol impairment. If a driver has consumed too much alcohol, the car would not start. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has estimated that this could save over 8,000 lives per year.

At present, DUI laws in California allow the courts to order as a condition of probation, the installation in the defendants vehicle of an ignition interlock device. This device requires a defendant to blow into it with an alcohol free breath sample before the vehicle will start. The current proposal from MADD would require every new vehicle to operate in a similar way irrespective of the status of the owner. This measure would apply an element of DUI sentencing in California to everyone whether they drink alcohol or not. In is unclear who would be expected to bear the cost of this. In a time when the auto industry is on its knees due to the state of the economy, this move is expected to encounter oppostion from them.

Los Angeles and Orange County DUI Lawyers have been dealing with the problems associated with ignition interlock devices for some time now. They are about the size of a cell phone. They require regular calibration. They mandate that a person blow into them before the vehicle will start and intermitently during operation of the vehicle. They are not inexpensive. One wonders how law abiding citizens will react if this becomes law.

MADD is a very effective lobbying organization. There are few people who dare to oppose its ideas in public. However, this measure would apply to everybody and not just those convicted of DUI. It will be interesting to note the reaction from the auto industry, politicians and the public when this proposal gains momentum.