At a hearing on Monday of the Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee of the House Commerce Committee, the auto manufacturers’ vice president for vehicle safety, Robert Strassburger, cited figures from New Mexico, which mandates interlocks after a first drunken-driving conviction. Alcohol-involved crashes in New Mexico are down 30 percent, injuries 32 percent and fatalities 22 percent, he said.
Our friends in the automotive industry are not necessarily proposing that every new car come installed with an interlock device. They are, however, proposing that the money be spent to develop passive technologies to prevent impaired drivers from starting their cars. Matthew Wald, the author of the New York Times "The Nuts and Bolts of Whatever Moves You" blog writes that:
No one is proposing a breathalyzer in every car. The auto and insurance industries are already involved in a cooperative research program to develop passive monitoring systems. Blood alcohol can be measured by bouncing light, in the near-infra-red wavelength, off the skin of a driver. It can also be measured by the sweat on the skin, or by analyzing eye movements.
I want to know how these detection devices would be calibrated? How would they be monitored? Would they operate like a "black box" and store information that could be downloaded by law enforcement as part of an investigation? Is this just another attempt at circumventing our freedom in the name of public safety?
What questions do you have?