Tag Archives: ntsb

Requiring Alcohol Sensors in Cars. Should We?

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

Okay you Libertarians, here’s a question for you. How much government help (or as some might say, interference) is too much? Where do we draw the line?

Following the tragic and senseless death of Cowboys football player Jerry Brown the driver of the car, fellow player Josh Brent is facing manslaughter charges for driving while intoxicated. Calvin Hill, a consultant for the team, searching for answers, is now pondering a mandate that Cowboys players have electronic devices designed to immobilize vehicles when a driver is impaired.

From USAToday: Calvin Hill said the team could mandate that The device, SafeKey, includes a small fob that is attached to the key ring, which sends electronic signals to a complementary device that can prevent a vehicle from starting if a driver doesn’t pass a test based on color-coded light emissions.

The NFL Players Association would have to agree to such a mandate and such a negotiation would not happen immediately. There is a current confidential program in place by the players union that provides rides for players who are impaired.

At the same time the National Transportation Safety Board is also considering using similar ignition interlock devices. They are currently proposing these be installed following any drunk driving arrest. But would eventually like to have all cars equipped with alcohol sensors. Currently 17 states require the device to be installed following a DUI conviction.

MSNBC:  To stop first-time convicted drunk drivers from re-offending, the NTSB would like every new offender to be required to have an ignition interlock device in their car. NTSB is asking for the standard even in cases where the initial violation was as low as .08 at the time of arrest.

NTSB says eventually all cars should be built with alcohol sensors.

So the question is: Should an employer be allowed to mandate use of such a sensor during off time? Should the government be allowed to mandate this use?

We allow the government to require safety devices such as seat belts and air bags. Would this be just one more tool? Does it cross the line or does the protection of others mean a limitation of the driver? Is the life of an innocent person injured or killed by a drunk driver worth less than his inconvenience?