The Car Breathalyzer: A Mandatory Accessory

In the United States, drunk driving is number one on the list of causes for motor vehicle deaths.  You may find it even more appalling that most people convicted of DUI continue to drive despite court-instituted sanctions.

A car breathalyzer, which is increasingly mandated by courts, is one of the last bastions for drunk driving prevention for DUI offenders who want to avoid harsher punishments, such as jail time.  A car breathalyzer, more commonly known as an ignition interlock device, prevents a car from starting unless the driver blows a clean lung-air sample into the unit.  If the breathalyzer detects any alcohol, the car will refuse to start.

Often used by the courts as a part of a package of punishments and fines for those who are convicted of DUI, the sophisticated device is installed in the offender’s car. These semi-permanent alcohol breath testers are professionally installed and paid for by the offender.

Not exactly a badge of honor, these car breathalyzers do a good job of keeping those who have driven their vehicles under the influence of alcohol from doing it again.  At least in their own vehicles.

Some drivers will go to great lengths to bypass the interlock device.  And, like most electronic devices, car breathalyzers are not infallible.  A willing friend who has not had any alcohol could be persuaded to blow into the unit to bypass it and let the car start.

However, companies that manufacture car breathalyzers have developed multiple safeguards to prevent easy circumvention.   These defensive measures include disabling the ignition if someone tries to remove or disable it, and special driver recognition tools to prevent an accomplice from providing the breath sample.

Let’s face it.  If you have a car breathalyzer device installed in your vehicle, you’ve already shown that you can’t be trusted to drink and not drive.  If you try to bypass one of these devices, you should go to jail, because obviously you don’t have a good understanding of the danger you are to society.

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