Two thoughts on this article and the legislation being considered.
1. The Post tried to follow the journalistic principle of presenting both sides of the argument, so they went out and found somebody who was against the proposal. The dude they chose to interview for the "con" side of this is clearly an idiot. He should be forced to attend every funeral of someone killed by a drunk driver in Maryland and Virginia for the next year at a minimum. His counter argument is basically, "But if they have a breathalyzer on their ignition switch in their car, then they're probably not going to have a second drink with dinner and it'll hurt the alcoholic beverage industry."
That's. The. Whole. Friggin. Point.
I don't WANT them having a second drink if they're going to be driving, and neither should you.
2. That being said, I think the proposed legislation misses the mark. As I wrote above, it's a step in the right direction, but after further contemplation, I think it's actually ineffective. The problem is this: Having a breathalyzer on the ignition switch of the convicted offender's car doesn't stop him* from getting in somebody ELSE's car and driving off and killing somebody.
To make such a policy effective, they would really need to install breathalyzers on ALL car ignition switches.
I'm all for it.
As any of my previous crewmembers will tell you, I always talked to the crew at quarters on the pier about making your plan for how you'll get home BEFORE you start drinking, and make sure that plan involves you not having ANY access to operate a motor vehicle.
The reason is simple.
Alcohol impairs your judgment.
After you've started consuming alcohol, then you are no longer in a position to judge if you're okay to drive. During my department head tour, we had a string of several DUIs in a row where guys claimed, "but I just had one beer with dinner. I felt fine!"
Don't assume you'll just find a ride with somebody. When it comes around to closing time and you want to go home, you'll look around the bar, see nobody to give you a ride, and say to yourself, "Self, I feel fine. I didn't have that much to drink. It'll be okay."
That's why I always told my crew at quarters to make sure their plan involved them not even having the option of getting behind the wheel of a car. Give the keys to someone else before you start drinking.
Sorry, that was an unintended tangent. Getting back to the point. IF we were to put breathalyzers on ALL car ignition switches, then I am certain it would dramatically reduce the rate of DUIs, because all those people who think they didn't have that much to drink won't be able to start their car.
I wonder how hard companies like Anheuser-Busch would fight such legislation to protect their revenues?
* Disclaimer: I'm not trying to be sexist here. From reading the Navy UNIT SITREPs on the Navy Ops Center website in the mornings, I'd guestimate that about 99% of DUIs (at least for Navy personnel) are men.