One way to prevent a person convicted of driving under the influence from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated again is to install an ignition interlock device in the driver's car. These devices prevent a driver from starting his or her vehicle if a specified amount of alcohol is detected on the driver's breath. Ignition interlocks are required after a first DUI conviction in a number of states as well as the District of Columbia. Currently, Georgia does not require a first time offender to install an ignition interlock device. Rather, under Georgia law, an ignition interlock is required if an individual gets two DUI's within five years.
Ignition interlocks may prevent an intoxicated individual from starting a car, but that doesn't mean they are foolproof. There are a number of ways that drivers can get around the system, such as having a person who is not intoxicated blow into the device. To combat this issue, some states have started giving offenders the option of having an ignition interlock devices that have a camera. In 2013, Washington became the first state to mandate that the ignition interlocks installed in DUI offender's vehicle have a camera, which "automatically takes a snapshot of the driver whenever a sample is required." According to The Seattle Times, the camera takes a set of two photos: "The first is taken when the device alerts the driver to provide a breath sample, and the second is snapped while the driver is actively blowing into the interlock device." The results of the test are not sent to the police station, but rather to the manufacturer. Authorities can then request the photos if there is a question about who is actually blowing into the device.
In the summer of 2016, Virginia also began to require that there be a camera in the ignition interlock devices used in its state. Governor Terry McAuliffe recommended the new regulation. The cameras will be monitored by the Commission on Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) and checked when drivers take their vehicles in for the device's monthly calibration. According to Chris Morris, the Special Programs Coordinator for VASAP, "'The cameras are essential to circumvention attempts where somebody could potentially have somebody else blow into the device for them to start the car. The camera actually takes a picture of who is taking a breath test, so we can identify who it is.'" That same summer Michigan also began requiring that the ignition interlock device's used in the state have a camera installed.
In addition to devices that increase accountability, new technology to prevent drunk driving is currently being developed by the research organization, Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADDS). One method for detection would be to use breath, but instead of a driver having to blow into a device, the alcohol on a driver's breath would be measured by "sensors mounted in front of the driver." This technology wouldn't even require a driver to aware that they were being monitored. Another method DADDS is working on uses touch technology which would detect "alcohol when the driver touches the start button or another designated surface in the car." It would do this by measuring alcohol levels "under the skin's surface on a touch-pad with an infrared light scanner." The technology still has some way to go before it will be available, however, the director of DADDS estimates that these type of alcohol detection devices will be in cars in the next five to eight years.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence in the state of Georgia, please do not hesitate to contact Cobb County DUI Attorney Richard Lawson today. A DUI conviction can have a significant impact on your life. Let an experienced and knowledgeable attorney fight for you. Call the office today at (404) 816-4440.
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