Universal ignition interlock may be one step closer to becoming a reality if Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) is successful in obtaining $60 million in federal funding to research the application of the technology in all vehicles.
Ignition interlock devices prevent an automobile from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above a pre-set limit when measured via a breathalyzer installed in the vehicle. Ignition interlocks are required on the cars of first time, low BAC drunk driving offenses in 12 states and mandatory for individuals with multiple or high BAC offenses in 26 states. Non-invasive BAC testing technologies are in development, including trans-dermal sensors on key fobs, steering wheels and gear shifts, as well as retinal scanners placed in rearview mirrors. While the BAC limit for intoxication is 0.08 percent, the devices are typically set lower than that – as low as 0.02 – to allow a margin of error.
According to the American Beverage Institute (ABI), the Washington, D.C.-based hospitality lobbying group, the proposal by Sen. Udall confirms that the goal of ignition interlock is the placement of the devices in all vehicles, not just those of drunk driving offenders. Universal ignition interlock would be disastrous to the nightclub, bar and restaurant industry, as patrons would not be able to enjoy even one drink while in an on-premise establishment. Sarah Longwell, managing director of ABI, has said universal ignition interlock negates the concept of responsible drinking and will severely impact the hospitality industry.
For more information on ignition interlock, visit interlockfacts.com.
Editor’s Note: While making a presentation during the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas last week, the topic of ignition interlock was raised by my co-presenter, Robert Plotkin. In a room of more than 150 operators, none were aware of what ignition interlocks are, let alone the threat the application of universal ignition interlock poses to their businesses.
For the sake of your business and to preserve the right for Americans to consume alcohol responsibly, please educate yourself on this issue. Visit abionline.org or interlockfacts.com, and also read these related articles:
Be aware, get involved and protect your business!
Donna Hood Crecca
Publisher & Editorial Director