Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A breath tester in every car

It's one thing to punish motorists for exercising their Constitutional right to give up evidence that could be used against them. The coercive power of the state is used to try to force motorists to blow into the breath test machine in hopes that it might make it easier to convict them.

Of course in some states, such as here in Texas, if you don't play along and blow into their machine, they'll just strap you down and stick a needle in your arm. As Scott Greenfield points out, if you don't live in a state that employs vampires wearing badges, thank your lucky stars.

But across the pond in France, the state has come up with a new method of gathering evidence against motorists suspected of driving while intoxicated. It is now illegal in France to drive around without a portable breath tester in your car. Motorists have a choice between an expensive electronic unit that can be reused, or a less expensive one-off chemical test kit.

The law will affect everyone who operates a car in France - whether they be French or not. The gendarmes plan to enforce the law by setting up checkpoints at the Channel Tunnel and on ferry landings in order to nab those pesky British drivers who choose not to follow French laws.

While citizens on the continent don't enjoy nearly the level of freedom we do here from unwarranted badgering by the police, requiring motorists to carry test kits seems to me to go just a bit too far. It's one thing to have checkpoints to stop motorists to make certain they're carrying the required test kits - but it's not too far a step to then require the drivers to blow into their little thingeys to see if they are intoxicated or not.

Just think, you'll be providing the evidence to be used against you in your very own test kit. As the brewers of Guinness would say, "Brilliant!"

How long until someone here takes up the cause of breath testers in every car? MADD is already calling for interlock devices to be mandatory. And if such a measure were passed, would the police have the authority to set up checkpoints to determine if motorists were carrying their breath testers with them? Would the police have the authority to require a motorist to blow into their tester upon request?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was also wondering if it would renew and strengthen MADD's call for interlock devices in every vehicle. I weep for our Constitution...

Great blog by the way, thanks for putting it up and keeping it updated.