Thursday, March 22, 2007


Here in New Mexico this week a 53 year old man was arrested for the 28th time for DWI. He had been convicted on a dozen of those charges, and could go to prison if convicted on this new arrest.

In a recent session of the legislature, State Representative W. Ken Martinez, of Grants, introduced a bill which would have required an “interlock” on all motor vehicles to be licensed in New Mexico. That bill failed. Martinez said he believed that death from DWI could go the way of polio, if the federal government would pass a law requiring an “interlock” on all motor vehicles. The authority may be found in the commerce clause. “Interlock” could mean any device which is a part of the vehicle is tamper proof, and prevents operation of the vehicle by an impaired driver. A Japanese automaker has recently started making such vehicles with this safety device as an accessory.

Now, to the point of his post. Congress has told us our vehicles must have seat belts, air bags, and other safety features. I cannot start my vehicle when the shift stick is anywhere except in “park.” Why not “interlocks?” Then deaths and injuries and property damage from DWI would be a thing of the past.

Sandia Laboratory scientists have developed an “interlock” in the form of a metal wrist plate which instantaneously detects and measures alcohol in the bloodstream when one lays his wrist on the plate as a prerequisite to the act of keying the ignition. If there is any doubt as to whether inventors will be able to come up with a tamper proof, efficient device, then let the Department of Transportation study the issue and report.

This reform is overdue. The technology is here; the idea is feasible.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the sound voice of reason. I agree in that reform is way overdue and I really wonder why our legislators remain too inured to see it. It is a travesty of justice to continue this "DWI stupidity." Perhaps the temptation of federal enforcement dollars that keeps our legislators selling us out... In the future I will be more active on this issue. Thank you again.