Tuesday, July 14, 2009
BAIID-BREATH ALCOHOL IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE
BAIID-BREATH ALCOHOL IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE A new Illinois law has made it possible for first time DUI offenders to be able to continue to drive instead of losing their licenses. About 3,600 Illinoisans accused for the first time of drunken driving are seeking to take advantage of a new law that allows them to get behind the wheel again as long as they install a device in their cars that measures their sobriety. The device costs $100 to install and $110 a month to rent and for the state to monitor. My first thought was that an offender who has a BAIID installed in their car would just have someone else blow into the device for them but The Secretary of State’s web site explains how the BAIID prevents that. “The device requires an initial blow from the offender to start the car. Following that, the device will require breath samples at random intervals throughout the offenders trip. Thus, preventing someone else from blowing into the machine to get the car started.” About 50,000 people a year are arrested statewide for drunken driving, and about 40,000 of those arrests of are first-time offenders, said Henry Haupt, a spokesman for the secretary of state's office. The Chicago Tribune quoted, Harold Wallin, a Chicago attorney who represents about 175 clients a year accused of drunken driving. Wallin said he thinks the new law helps first-time defendants resume some sort of normal life by letting them drive. But only about half of Wallin's clients, most of whom are first-timers, get the device. That means they opt to not drive for up to a year. The device is "expensive and it's embarrassing for people," Wallin said. "It's humiliating to have that device in their car." So fifty percent of Wallin’s clients find it “humiliating” to have a BAIID device? Isn’t it more humiliating and embarrassing not to be able to drive? Too expensive? While adding an expense of $110/month to someone’s budget might be tough, the offender found enough money to spend to get drunk! State Rep. Jack Franks told me,” I think it is a good law. One that I voted for. A number of years ago I tried passing a bill that would require repeat DUI offenders to have an orange license plate placed on their cars so they would be easily identifiable from a distance. The members of the legislature at the time thought it would be too stigmatizing. Too stigmatizing? We are talking about repeat DUI offenders, maybe some humiliation and embarrassment is needed to help keep them sober.” Maybe the installation of a BAIID device will cut down on drunk driving, I don’t know. I have an easier solution that is not humiliating, embarrassing or expensive—just don’t drink.