OK, now that I’ve got your attention I just want to start by acknowledging that the overriding theme of this post is not funny — in fact its very, very sad. But I can’t deny I chuckled a bit when I first heard it.
Alright, leggggo. So my cousin who we will call “J” for the purpose of this blog has developed a really bad drinking problem over the past few years. It’s gotten so bad that his wife had one of those breathalyzer ignition locks installed in his car.
The first few times he went out after she put it on, he went out and got drunk but wasn’t able to start the car to drive home. A shame he does this regularly, but the device did what it was supposed to do, which made the roads safer for everyone. But he recently figured a way around it. He went to his favorite bar and left his car running in the parking lot while he went inside and got wasted. So he wouldn’t have to blow to start it. Yes, really.
I feel like most times when people are in a situation where they contemplate drinking and driving it’s unplanned. They go out, start having a good time and one or two drinks turns into three or four and before you know it, it’s last call and you realize you have no way to get home… But what J did was completely premeditated.
NOW, I AM NOT BY ANY MEANS TRYING TO EXCUSE THIS BEHAVIOR…
But you gotta admit it was a pretty well-thought out plan. Gas up the car, go to a bar where folks know you and the car will be safe… Who says alcohol ruins brain cells??!? Besides anyone with any medical training… The details on how he was found out are a little murky but someone saw it and tattled — he certainly didn’t tell on himself — so he didn’t end up getting behind the wheel. But the fact still remains that he could have.
I did a little research on these devices because it seems like there are a ton of work-arounds where intoxicated folks could still drive. You could do what my cousin did and not shut your car off, you could have (a very unscrupulous) someone blow to start the car for you. All you can do is hope that most people wouldn’t think to plan ahead like that. And anyone who blew for a drunk person to start their would have to be sober — and therefore knowingly be sending someone off to drive drunk rather than take them to a safe place. At the very least that’s illegal, and in my opinion, anyone who’d do that should be required to ride along in the passenger’s seat.
But another thing I learned is that as you’re driving these ignition locks prompt drivers to blow at various random intervals during the trip. You have to pull over and then blow or the car will lock up — horns may beep, lights may flash, and the motor will shut off if the person is over the legal limit. So you could risk it if you’re going a short distance, but chances are you wouldn’t get far. Plus for those people where the ignition lock was mandated as a result of a DUI the failed breathalyzer information is recorded and downloaded.
I’ve said all this to say that upon first hearing the story, I’ll admit I was amused by my cousin’s craftiness — moreso by that fact that despite it he still got caught. But when I thought more about it I realized what a disaster it might have been. I guess these devices aren’t perfect and they can’t stop people from drinking altogether. But hey if they didn’t exist a lot more people would be driving drunk. So they’re doing some good. Do any of you know anyone with one of these devices? How’s it working for them. Inquiring mind wanna know.
I wanna know.