The Problem with Ignition Interlocks - Robert Littlefield Buford III, Attorney at Law

Posted by | July 09, 2015 | Uncategorized | No Comments
The Problem with Ignition Interlocks

As a deterrent to drivers that have been convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI), the court may impose the penalty of the installation of ignition interlock devices in every vehicle that the driver uses. However, recent developments in the technology of ignition interlock devices have also caused serious problems for drivers even when they are obeying the law.

Use of Ignition Interlocks

Under Texas law, Section 521.246 states that if a person has been convicted of DWI, the judge may restrict the driver’s use of the vehicle with the installation of an ignition interlock device. The interlock device may be installed if the driver has two or more DWI convictions or has had their license suspended because of a DWI. The installation of these devices is commonplace when judges determine the penalties for a conviction of driving while intoxicated.

The ignition interlock device is installed at the expense of the driver, and it must remain in place for at least half of the time of supervision. The only time that the driver may use a vehicle without the use of the interlock device is if the vehicle is in the scope and course of employment, the vehicle is owned by the employer, the employer knows of the driving restriction, and proof of that notification is in the vehicle.

Developments in Ignition Interlocks

The technological development of ignition interlock devices has come a long way, but problems persist in their use. When an ignition interlock device malfunctions, it can cause serious problems for the driver and their loved ones. It can prevent people from getting to school, work, home, or even to the hospital in an emergency situation. Furthermore, it can present incorrect data to the authorities for every false read and malfunction that happens with the equipment.

In 2008, the Vice President of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers stated that even if ignition interlock devices met Six Sigma standards, or only having 3.4 defective parts per million, it would still mean that there are 4,000 misreadings per day. Realistically, the defect rate is probably around the Three Sigma standards, or 2,700 defects per million, which causes nearly three million misreadings per day across the country.

Other developments in ignition interlock devices have raised legal and privacy concerns for the drivers involved. New technology in ignition interlock devices records each breath sample given and also tracks how many times a driver attempts to start the vehicle after consuming alcohol. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is seeking to further develop ignition interlock technology be installing cameras inside the vehicle and wireless transmission of interlock data directly to police in real time.

Our Attorneys Can Help

At Buford & Gonzalez, we understand the problems that can come with ignition interlock devices and are here to help. Call the office or contact us today for a private and free review of your case. Our office has successfully helped clients throughout the Austin area that are faced with issues involving DWI.