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DUIs in 2009 Are Gonna Blow

By Karl Klockars in News on Dec 29, 2008 8:35PM

ignitioninterlock122908.jpg For the dipshits among us planning on getting absolutely 'faced and cruising home a couple nights from now, here's another thing to consider before you pour yourself into the driver's seat and hit the highways. Whereas a DUI on December 31st would be terribly expensive, time-consuming and have negative legal consequences on your life, a DUI on January 1st is even worse. How could that be, you say?

One of the few things that the state actually did this year was pass legislation to make drivers rent and maintain an ignition-interlock device after a DUI, which forces the driver to breathe into the machine in order to get it to start. If you've had more than a couple beers (or that half-shot of schnapps, you lightweight), it stays off. Not only is this expected to save lives - New Mexico reported a 12 percent drop in drunken-driving deaths after implementing the device - but it's good for a lot more spending. The DUI program is a huge cash cow for the state, and this legislation will put another $80 per installation of the device, plus another $80 per month for "maintenance" to an as-yet unidentified company, plus another $30 to the Secretary of State for more monitoring.

Now, addicts are a crafty bunch. You might think, maybe someone just will blow into it to get the car going, and then when they hit the road they can start boozing. Wrong, drunkard: the machine requires another hit in about 15 minutes after starting, and then a couple times per hour during the course of the trip. That's a lot of exhaling for your pissed-off sponsor sitting next to you while you swill Early Times and careen down the Kennedy.

What about renting & installing the device, and then driving another vehicle, you say? If you get busted doing so, you could very well go to the pokey for 3 years. Something to think about before you pound back that 14th Old Style and borrow your buddy's conversion van to hit the liquor store. Plus, if you get busted and pull that "refuse to blow because someone's lawyer said it was a good idea" routine, get ready for the interlock as well - refusal to blow followed by a conviction will put the machine in your vehicle for a full year.

Full text of the bill is located here [pdf] if you want to inspect all the legal nooks and crannies, but suffice to say: Don't freaking drink and drive. A $20 cab ride or the CTA are much cheaper than thousands of dollars in fees, tow truck costs, penalties, court costs, and legal expenses. Not to mention any of the costs - emotional, medical and beyond - involved if you - God forbid - wreck yourself or someone else. If the State could go further than their current "DUIs are for Losers" campaign, we'd recommend they use a "DUIs are for Dipshits" line of copy. [Trib]

Image from South Carolina's Ignition Interlock page.