Friends Don't Let Friends Trust Drunk Driving Tech

from the my-car-won't-start-I-have-yeast-breath dept

There's been no limit of proposed tech and legal solutions aimed at trying to curb the number of drunk ninnies clogging the nation's highways. But according to government statistics, the number of alcohol related fatalties remains static. In an effort to change this, Mothers Against Drunk Driving launched a "bold new effort" late last month aimed at eradicating drunk driving. At the heart of this new push is the ignition interlock device (IID), into which a sauced motorist blows to check his blood alcohol level before hitting the on ramp.

IIDs are not new. Several states have been using the devices for years, and some automakers have debated making them standard equipment. However there's a faily massive contingent of people who believe IIDs are inaccurate, unreliable (even yeast oddly can create a false positive), and easily circumvented. There's a flood of editorials springing up in response to MADD's IID solution arguing the data simply doesn't show that these devices will have any impact on eliminating drunk driving. In fact one study by the California DMV last year argued that IIDs actually increase the risk of accidents. There's some financial tug-of-war at play under the surface of this story -- outfits like The American Beverage Institute, concerned about IIDs impeding legal social drinking on one side, with IID vendors on the other. MADD's heart may be in the right place, but just throwing technology (particularly when it's not fully cooked) at a problem isn't always enough.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Angry Rivethead, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 4:17pm

    ...now...

    This is just plain silly...

    A.) Blow up balloon

    B.) Go drinkin'

    C.) Empty balloon into mouthpiece

    D.) Drive away drunk.

    ...or even one of those dust-off compressed air things...

     

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  2.  
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    bassboat, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 5:02pm

    madd

    all you gotta do is have someone blow into the device

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 5:13pm

    MAD AT MADD's BLIND IGNORANCE.

    Is this just another attempt at "back-door prohibition"? ...an effort to curb what some of them call the "environment of alcoholism" - instead of holding individual drinkers responsible for their actions.

    These policymakers should be wary of attempts to restrict choice when it comes to alcohol. The above mentioned IIDs place the external costs attributable to a small number of alcohol abusers on the large percentage of people who consume alcohol responsibly.

    Those efforts didn't work when enacted as a wide-scale, federal prohibition (70 years ago), and they are also ineffective and counterproductive when implemented incrementally.

    You would think that, given the failure of Prohibition, Americans wouldn't need to worry about its return.

    Drinking alcohol is a social norm in our culture, and is considered acceptable in many situations

    Also, research shows that some people who drink lightly (about one to two drinks per day) tend to experience certain health benefits.

     

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  4.  
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    William C Bonner, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 5:29pm

    IID? I thought I was legal to drive!

    I'd probably be more likely to drive drunk if I had a IID installed in my car. I'd be able to go out and have a few, then simply hang around in the car until it decided I was legal to drive. It would be cheaper than a taxi. Who would be to blame when I got pulled over for drunken driving, or worse? Me or the testing device?

     

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  5.  
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    drunk and horny, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 6:09pm

    Re: madd

    If I could get someone to blow into my device, I wouldn't have to go out and drive drunk.

     

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  6.  
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    anonymouse_coward, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 6:51pm

    Re: Re: madd

    best reply ever.

     

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  7.  
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    Arochone, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 7:14pm

    Those things are useless.

    My dad had to get one of those things after he got busted for DUI. They're useless. damn thing broke, and it was easier to jumper than a computer powersupply. There's...I think 6 wires, pull them apart, no screws or locks or anything, and touch the brown to the green or something. I'm pretty sure I could manage to figure one of those things out on my own. ESPECIALLY if I was drunk. I get a lot better at them things when I've been drinkin.

     

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  8.  
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    Capitalistic_Pig, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 7:28pm

    Re: Re: madd

    This introduces new and exciting career possibilities for the unemployed or people needing a little extra cash! Enterprising individuals could hang out in the parking lots of bars after last call. Drunks would happily pay someone $5 for a blow job if it would get their car started.

     

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  9.  
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    thethoughtful1, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 8:16pm

    "(even yeast oddly can create a false positive)"

    This is because yeast makes alcohol, in alcahol fermentation. It uses this process to provide energy for its growth and general life.

     

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  10.  
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    zarquon, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 10:47pm

    the underlying problem

    humans are stupid

     

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  11.  
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    AnnoyedDriver, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 11:36am

    Drunks aren't the problem

    If drunk drivers were the problem why haven't traffic fatalities dropped drastically in the last 10 to 20 years. The neo-prohibition efforts of MADD should have had some effect over that period. Yet despite the fact that cars are engineered orders of magnitude safer then they were 20 years ago there are still almost as many slaughtered on the roads today as then. The problem has nothing to do with drunks. Idiot drivers whether drunk or sober are the problem.

    There is no personal responsibility for actions while driving. If you cause an "accident" hurling down a road at 20 over the speed limit weaving through traffic while checking email, shaving and eating a donut and kill 3 people there is no punishment. There's a good chance you won't even get a ticket. Murder is legal while driving. Oh, unless you've had 2 beers in the last hour. Then they throw you in jail for 10 years. What's worse if you've had those 2 beers and are driving at the speed limit in a perfectly safe manner and the idiot above causes an "accident" that involves you, you're going to jail not the idiot. Whether drunk or sober bad driving should carry the same punishment. Being sober and a dangerous driver is just as bad as being drunk and a dangerous driver yet the former goes unpunished while the latter gets you thrown in jail.

     

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  12.  
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    Devil's Advocate, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 1:36pm

    Wow, not one person in favor of this has posted.

    1) If you can get someone sober to blow into your car and then they let you drive, you should both go the way of the dodo bird.

    2) Circumvention would obviously be a major criminal offense and would obviously be made more difficult if it were required on all cars.

    3) It's not a attempt at backdoor prohibition since it only has to do with you driving, not drinking.

    As for the guy who said bad drivers are responsible for accidents, bad drivers also drink. Personally, if I am driving I do not drink at all. It is simple. If you don't think "drunk" drivers kill then grow up. Bad drivers may not be drunk, but drunk drivers ARE worse drivers than when they are sober. These devices would have no effect on me as I do not drink and drive. I think if it can keep you guys off the road then I am all for it.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 1:49pm

    Accountability and Responsibility

    ...are what we really lack. See also, the case that removing road signs and traffic lights actually makes roads safer, including a city that actually tested that theory.
    www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.12/traffic.html
    www.csmonitor.com/2005/0127/p01s03-woeu.html
    www. telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/11/04/ntraffic04.xml

     

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  14.  
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    Paul, Dec 3rd, 2006 @ 3:19am

    False positives

    Even if the devices could be easily circumventable they would prolly be better than nothing for convicted DUI drivers.

    But if the device has even a 1% false positive that could prevent me from driving when I haven't had a lick of alcohol in a week, then fuck that.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2006 @ 11:03am

    Breathalyzers don't work accurately for everyone

    Certain medicines and diet pills (such as Hydroxycut) send false-positives high enough to flag a DUI/DWI.

    Even simple burping may create such high false positives.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breathalyzer

    Breathalyzers don't work accurately for everyone, especially not those who have an active stomach or who are taking common medications or any of today's diet pills.

     

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  16.  
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    Craig, Dec 3rd, 2006 @ 1:56pm

    MADD & the government is fooling you

    Check out the statistics on deaths on US roads. You will find that there is a smaller percentage of people getting killed due to a drunk driver than from other types of accidents. There isn't a lobby group pumping money into politics for the case of the "MAJORITY" of traffic fatalities so it doesn't get as much attention.

    Think about this. You see beer commercials that state "don't drink and drive", but auto manufacturers advertise "zero to 60 in 8 seconds", or market their cars that have 250 hp. C'mon people wake up and stop listening to what everyone is telling you. IF THE GOVERNMENT WAS REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT SAVING LIVES THEY WOULD BE FOCUSING ON THE CAUSE OF THE "MAJORITY" OF TRAFFIC FATALITIES.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Craig, Dec 3rd, 2006 @ 1:57pm

    MADD & the government is fooling you

    Check out the statistics on deaths on US roads. You will find that there is a smaller percentage of people getting killed due to a drunk driver than from other types of accidents. There isn't a lobby group pumping money into politics for the case of the "MAJORITY" of traffic fatalities so it doesn't get as much attention.

    Think about this. You see beer commercials that state "don't drink and drive", but auto manufacturers advertise "zero to 60 in 8 seconds", or market their cars that have 250 hp. C'mon people wake up and stop listening to what everyone is telling you. IF THE GOVERNMENT WAS REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT SAVING LIVES THEY WOULD BE FOCUSING ON THE CAUSE OF THE "MAJORITY" OF TRAFFIC FATALITIES.

    The penalties for DUI are much more severe than any other moving violation, yet it is these other moving violations that make up the "majority" of traffic fatalities.

     

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  18.  
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    Crystal, Dec 3rd, 2006 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Drunks aren't the problem

    Oh my god i could not have said it better myself. Your comment is so very true. Isn't it amazing that stupid drivers that do five things while driving like applying make-up, reading, talking on a phone, or a laptop have no jail time for killing someone, but you have a couple beers and the flood gates open and you are another statistic...

     

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  19.  
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    Unkowledgeable Geek, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 5:27am

    Re: MADD & the government is fooling you

    You keep referring to the "Majority" of traffic accidents. This "Majority" is????

     

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  20.  
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    Unkowledgeable Geek, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 5:31am

    So...

    Is everyone saying that Drunk Drivers are good drivers?

    So if we are saying that the majority of bad accidents are caused by people doing 10 things at once, so why not add alcohol on top of that.

    I don't see why everyone is so against this. The only thing that bothers me is the "false positives". All you people saying my brother could blow in it and I will drive home. Come on, that is irrelevant. We aren't trying to figure out a way to circumevent. We are looking for a solution to drunk driving

     

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  21.  
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    malhombre, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 6:41am

    Smart car tech, maybe?

    Maybe everyone is right...perhaps what we need is an integrated vehicle based system that can detect erratic operational activity rather than an add-on, chemically activated system that is external to the ability of the vehicle to operate when defeated.
    In other words, using criteria such as repeatedly turning without signals, excessive G-force turns at otherwise nominal speeds, jamming brakes an excessive number of times, side to side veering, jackrabbit acceleration (excessive), etc...when all are considered together by a well constructed algorithm we could maybe identify dangerous driving patterns regardless of drinking, cell-phone use, reading the paper, or whatever.
    I dont know what you do with this info - turn on the emergency flashers to warn other drivers? some ability to notify police? Dont have all the answers but I agree that shitty driving is the biggest threat...not some arbitrary level of alcohol consumption ( that said, dont drink and drive, just dont)

     

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  22.  
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    MIX, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 8:38am

    STOP DRIVING. YOR ARE KIILLING EARTH.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    crystal, Mar 2nd, 2008 @ 1:36pm

    Drunk Driving

    I went over to one of my friends house one time and my friends older sister was having a big party. Well me and my 3 friends watched everyone that walked threw the door. Then they were not aloud anything to drink until they haded us their keys to the car. Then we went in my friends room and hide them so no one could find them. No one was aloud to leave that house if they had put a glass of any alcohol to their lips. So we kept everyone safe for the whole night. That is how parties need to been handled.

     

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