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NTSB Calls for Mandatory Ignition Interlock Devices in All New Cars Following Deadly DUI Crash

In many states, people convicted of certain DUI offenses may be ordered to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. Recently, however, groups across the United States have pushed for such devices to be installed in all vehicles, regardless of the criminal history or lack thereof of the driver.  For example, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently called for alcohol detection systems to be installed in all new cars following a deadly collision in California. While people generally agree that the prevention of DUI crimes is important, the imposition of mandatory ignition interlock devices raises several concerns. If you are charged with a DUI offense in Illinois, it is smart to speak to an Illinois DUI defense lawyer about your rights as soon as possible.

The California Crash

It is alleged that a collision that occurred on New Year’s Day in Avenal, California last year compelled the NTSB to call for systems that detect alcohol impairment to be installed in all new cars. Its recommendation arose after it was revealed that the driver that caused the Avenal collision, which killed nine people, was intoxicated and driving at a speed of almost 100 miles per hour. The accident occurred when the intoxicated motorist drove head-first into a pickup truck in which seven children were riding as passengers. It was later revealed that the driver veered off the side of a rural road and then overcorrected, causing him to crash into the truck.

It is reported that after the accident, the NTSB issued a statement asserting that alcohol detection technology could have prevented the crash, as well as the thousands of DUI-related crashes that occur throughout the country each year. Thus, the Chair of the NTSB believes the technology should be implemented as soon as possible to save lives.  

Potential Issues with Mandatory Ignition Interlock Devices

There are numerous potential issues that could arise if measures pass to make ignition interlock devices mandatory in vehicles. First, it is likely that such efforts would be challenged as violating the constitutional rights to privacy and to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.

Further, as the devices would only be mandatory in new cars, it is likely that there would be disparities in how drivers of newer and older vehicles are treated and how criminal charges against them are prosecuted. It also does not appear that standards have been developed for calibrating and ensuring the accuracy of such devices, which could result in false positives, leaving sober people stranded and unable to use their vehicles. Similarly, it is not clear if and how the devices would be able to distinguish between positive readings caused by the consumption of alcohol versus those brought about by other factors, like food and medications.

Meet with a Skilled Illinois DUI Defense Attorney

If you are charged with a DUI crime, it is in important to understand your rights, and you should meet with an Illinois DUI defense lawyer. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a skilled DUI defense attorney with ample experience helping people protect their interests in DUI cases, and if you hire him, he will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact Mr. Harvatin via the form online or at 217.525.0520 to set up a conference.

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