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-   -   Mandatory In-Car Breathalyzers Coming? (https://www.speedtraphunter.net/nma-articles/619-mandatory-car-breathalyzers-coming.html)

NMA Reporter 2008-06-26 14:00

Mandatory In-Car Breathalyzers Coming?
<b>NMA Article: Mandatory In-Car Breathalyzers Coming?</b><br/><br/><p><em>By Eric Peters, Automotive Columnist</em></p>
<p><img style="border-top-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; margin: 0px 10px 0px 0px; border-right-width: 0px" src="http://www.motorists.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/MandatoryInCarBreathalyzersComing_9FB4/franklinquote.jpg" border="0" alt="Benjamin Franklin Quote" width="144" height="217" align="left" /> If you’re <em>not</em> a convicted drunk driver, should you still be required to have an in-car breathalyzer fitted (at your expense, ‘natch) to your next new vehicle?</p>
<p>Apparently, some automakers — including GM and Toyota — think so. They and a few others are working together under the auspices of something called the <a href="http://www.dadss.org/"><strong>Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety</strong></a>, which is a $10 million federal “research program” that is trying to develop just such technology for mass introduction a few years from now.</p>
<p>At the moment, the only people who have to deal with (and pay for) in-car Breathalyzers are convicted drunks; the devices are basically ignition locks that prevent the vehicle’s engine from being started until the would-be driver blows into the tube and the system determines he’s not liquored up.</p>
<p>But by 2012 or so, in-car breath sniffers could be standard equipment in every new vehicle sold, force-fed to you by the tag team of Washington, Detroit and, of course, the ever-busy <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mothers_Against_Drunk_Driving#Criticisms"><strong> Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)</strong></a>.</p>
<p>No conviction necessary.</p>
<p>Advocates say the technology under development would be “less intrusive.” Instead of making the driver blow into a little tube like they make you do at those roadside “sobriety checkpoints,” a system of passive alcohol sensors would be fitted to the car that could take a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) reading via a person’s skin — as when your hand touches the shifter or steering wheel. This “quiet” approach is supposed to make us feel better about being pre-convicted and treated like known and duly processed irresponsible drunks every single time we get behind the wheel of a car.</p>
<p>It doesn’t work for me.</p>
<p><span id="more-127"></span></p>
<p>I dislike drunk drivers as much as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (is anyone actually <em>for </em>drunk driving)? But I certainly <em>do</em> object to policies and regulations that impose cost and hassle and arguably, <em>petit tyranny</em>, on people who have done absolutely nothing to warrant it.</p>
<p>This isn’t about nannyism so much as it is about upending a few basic bedrock Western ideas about criminal justice, rights and responsibilities. Chief among these being that each of us gets treated as a specific individual.</p>
<p>If we do something wrong, we get specifically held accountable for it;  the guy next door who had nothing to do with it isn’t dragged along for the ride. But that’s just what is happening here — indeed, has already happened — from those so-called “sobriety checkpoints” (which mostly “check”  perfectly <em>sober </em>drivers) to the growing kudzu of “primary enforcement” seat belts laws that pester (and ticket) people for not wearing a seat belt, an action that may not be especially smart on an individual level but which has very little to do with the safety or well-being of <em>others</em>.</p>
<p>What’s even worse than these growing harassments, however, is how few object to them on principle.</p>
<p>Perhaps it’s because of the continuous dumbing-down of the populace, which knows all about Lindsay Lohan’s latest bender and who’s the latest finalist on American Idol but no longer understands that <em>the ends don’t justify the means</em> — and that down that road lies much worse than henpecky tickets and having to pay a few more bucks for your next new car as a result of some government mandate.</p>
<p>People used to get that; today, most don’t seem to. It’s the only way to explain the tsunami-like effectiveness of the word, “safety” — which doesn’t have to be specifically defined, quantified, subjected to cost-benefit analysis or throttled back by the once-superior claim of the individual’s “personal bubble of authority” — where he or she formerly reigned supreme, free of the suffocating and endless edicts of others who claim their evaluation of a perceived risk trumps your personal right to choose.</p>
<p>Just say “safety” (and for added emphasis, include “our children”) and no objection can be sustained.</p>
<p>This latest bit of ugliness burbling up from the stinkpot of government-corporate do-gooderism is merely a <em>symptom</em> of the underlying canker that is our ignorance — and acquiescence.</p>
<p>Earlier generations of Americans would have said, “Hold on a minute. I haven’t been convicted of driving drunk; hell, I’ve never even been <em>suspected</em> of it. Why in the world should <em>I</em> be required to buy an alcohol sniffer to check me out before I drive?” They would have insisted on tough punishment for the specific dimwit who got behind the wheel of a car impaired by booze. But they would have insisted, with equal toughness, that <em>everyone else</em> be left the hell alone to go about their business in peace.</p>
<p>Today, however, the siren song of <em>saaaaaaaaafety</em> is like a secular version of the prayer call in Muslim countries. When people hear it, they automatically fall down on their knees en masse and begin to worship.</p>
<p>God may be great — but “safety” is rapidly gaining ground on him.</p>
<p>Comments?<br />
<a href="http://www.ericpetersautos.com">www.ericpetersautos.com</a></p>
<p><a style="color: black; text-decoration: underline" href="http://www.cafepress.com/irregulargoods.160734055">Image Credit</a></p>
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<p><a href="http://www.motorists.org/blog/duidwi/mandatory-in-car-breathalyzers-coming/">Mandatory In-Car Breathalyzers Coming?</a></p>
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