There have been rumblings in the auto industry recently about the creation of a new type of technology: one that would equip vehicles with the power to detect via scan whether or not a driver was under the influence of alcohol. But that’s exactly what ignition interlock devices do right now, and because they’re so effective, one judge is wondering if all vehicles should be equipped with ignition interlock devices.
His reasoning for wanting ignition interlocks is simple. He’s wondering if having ignition interlock devices in every vehicle would cut down on his overflowing docket due to the number of ‘over 80’ charges coming in.
What’s the difference between an over 80 charge and an impaired driving charge? It comes down to a matter of alcohol tolerance. If an office has you submit to a breathalyzer on suspicion of impaired driving and you blow over .08 but you don’t appear to be intoxicated, he may forgo the impaired driving charge in favor of over 80.
These charges and the people who fight them in court take up a lot of time for judges in Ontario. It’s estimated that there were 13,000 impaired-driving cases in front of the courts last year, and over 80 cases made up 6% of the total number of criminal cases.
The judge pondering the installation of mass ignition interlocks detailed his thoughts in a judgment against a driver who was charged with over 80 and ended up being acquitted of the charge. His judgement included the following statement, ‘I suspect such an administrative response would result in a clear reduction in the carnage caused by drunk drivers.’
Because judges and law enforcement have to follow certain procedures when prosecuting offenders, some can slip through the cracks or thwart the justice system. These may be the offenders who return to the road to drive drunk again, and anytime someone gets behind the wheel while impaired, there’s the chance he or she could injure or kill himself or herself or someone else.
Should ignition interlock devices be installed in all vehicles? It’s a topic that we could see up for discussion if impaired driving cases continue to clog the courts.