Drunk Driving: Ignition Interlock in Wisconsin a Mistake


Ignition interlock is the latest atrocity thrust upon us by the legislature in an attempt to solve a real problem in Wisconsin, Drunk Driving. Let’s face it, we are national leaders in this area. Until there is a true cultural change in Wisconsin, our highways will remain killing fields.

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Residents of the Badger state presume a birthright of imbibing alcohol to their hearts’ content with cheap and plentiful beer being protected in our constitution. Any town large enough to have a four corners is likely to have either a church or a convenience store and three taverns.

So it makes sense to use any means necessary to get drunk drivers off the road, right? Wrong. Ignition interlock has created a cottage industry in Wisconsin of providers. Industry is good. However, contrary to popular belief, these systems are capable of doing more harm than good. We all know that the driver has to blow before starting the car. What many don’t know is that the driver is forced to blow while driving the car. Texting while driving is much safer than this and it’s illegal.

There are other concerns.  IID can cost you your job if you work in a field that requires that you transport clients. Lastly, unless the Court grants you an exemption, your spouse might be forced to have one of these devices which bears a high price tag in her car too.

In the IID will not be cost effective. The law was poorly drafted and leaves a hole big enough to drive a Mack Truck through for us defense lawyers. IID is only imposed in the case of first time offenders if they refuse the test or if their measured PAC is in excess of .15.  It is worth it for defendants to litigate this issue.  Milwaukee County courts are already feeling the crunch of the many first offense cases going to trial on the issue of IID only. I like making money as much as the next guy, but this not a good way to spend tax dollars.

Limit the requirement to repeat offenders if necessary. Studies have shown some success in other states.  But let’s repeal this law as to first offense owi’s.

Have a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season.

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