DUI interlock devices now include camera

Peninsula Daily News

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OLYMPIA — Alcohol ignition interlocks, which are required on the vehicles of those who have been accused or convicted of impaired driving, now will include a feature to discourage others from performing breath tests for drivers.

As of Tuesday, the interlocks are required to have cameras and will snap a photo every time the machine is used to verify that the driver is the person who took the test, the State Patrol said.

Interlocks will allow the vehicle to be started only after it obtains a legal breath sample.

“We’ve had cases where impaired drivers asked passengers, friends or even children to take the test for them,” said Lt. Rob Sharpe, commander of the State Patrol’s impaired driving section.

“We’ve even heard stories of people trying to use portable air compressors to take the test,” he added.

Failures or attempts to tamper with the device are recorded by the machine’s software.

Personal visits

The company that leases the interlocks downloads the information and in turn contacts the State Patrol.

“We do make personal visits to drivers if we have evidence they have tried to fool the machine,” Sharpe said.

“Having a picture will be the best possible evidence that someone was trying to cheat.”

Washington state has what’s called an ignition interlock license, allowing those whose driver’s license normally would be suspended to drive legally with an interlock.

It was an acknowledgment that those accused or convicted of impaired driving have jobs and family obligations that require a car.

“History taught us that these people were going to drive anyway,” said Capt. Rob Huss, commander of the State Patrol’s office of government and media relations.

“The ignition interlock license gives them a way to drive legally but gives the rest of us some assurance that they’re sober and safe.”

Drivers can lose their ignition interlock license by attempting to fool the machine, and the photographs will provide accountability, he said.

Last modified: January 02. 2013 5:52PM
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