Historically, basic matters of public safety on non-federal highways have been handled by the states. Beginning in the early 1980’s, Congress started intruding on this traditional area of state law with reference to Illinois DUI laws (Driving Under the Influence).
Rather than use persuasion, Congress employed a hammer, namely, money. States that did not submit to the will of the Federal Government risked losing federal funds allocated to the states.
Due to this coercion, all 50 states now have: a drinking age of 21 (235 ILCS 5/6-16), a blood alcohol content of .08 (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(1) and driver’s license suspensions for either taking a test and registering above the legal limit or for refusing to take a test.
Given the recent ruling United States Supreme Court decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (“Obamacare”), exactly how far the Federal Government may go in regulating areas traditionally reserved to the states under the Commerce Clause is not completely clear. However, that will not stop Congress and the President, particularly one who, as it the case with the current occupant, favors a strong federal presence in our lives, from trying.
In vogue at the present time, touted as “silver bullets” to stop drunk driving are Interlock Ignition Devices, which in Illinois go under the names of Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) and Breath Alcohol Interlock Ignition Devices (BAIID). A machine is incorporated into your vehicle’s ignition. The vehicle will not start unless you blow into a mouthpiece that allegedly measures blood alcohol readings.
BAIID and MDDP revolve around the idea of requiring a driver to rent a machine from someone (the manufacturer of the machine, or as the people who support these intrusions like to call them, the much less threatening-sounding “device”). Then after renting this “device”, the driver is forced to pay someone certified by the state (the installer) to place the “device” in the driver’s vehicle.
The installer periodically downloads readings from the “device” (for a fee the driver pays) and sends those results to the Illinois Secretary of State. For a fee the driver pays the Secretary of State, his office records the results and monitors the driver’s compliance with the Secretary of State’s rules. 92 Illinois Administrative Code (IAC) §1001.444.
Clearly, money is a factor in the push for these “devices’. And if the providers of these “devices” throw enough of it around Washington DC, there’s bound to be some proposals to increase the use of Interlock Ignition Devices (IID) throughout the country.
The state of Virginia, next door to DC, recently began requiring first offenders to install an IID. Both neighboring Maryland and the District of Columbia itself are now in the bulls eye of the National Traffic Safety Administration.
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