Letters from the Lunar Outpost

To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.
- John Henry Newman, English Religious Leader, Prelate, and Writer (1801-1890)

France Mandates Breathalyzer Ignition Lock on All Cars

All vehicles travelling on French roads must carry a chemical or electronic breathalyzer test beginning Sunday, under new rules aimed at reducing alcohol-driven accidents.

“Alcohol has been the main cause of mortality on roads since 2006,” according to road security authorities.
About a third of fatalities on French roads is due to drink driving, a rate that far surpasses the 17 percent recorded in Britain or 10 percent in Germany.

Here in the us, approximately 40% of all motor-vehicle fatalities are alcohol-related. Drunk driving is the leading criminal cause of death, with more than 17,000 people are the victims of drunk driving accidents every year.

If you’re someone who believes in liberty as the highest ideal and hates most any heavy-handed government intrusion into our lives, don’t think the mandatory breathalyzers could only happen to the Euros, right here in America, in the state of Virginia, just today a law went into effect that all first time offenders will have to blow an alcohol-free blow themselves or they won’t be able to start their cars.

Which brings us to our poll question. Perhaps more than any other country on Earth, America has a love affair with the automobile and the freedom it gives us, making the question over mandatory breathalyzers the classic question between freedom and whether it should outweigh the consideration of the common good.

Do you think mandatory breathalyzers are a justified imposition on car owners considering the lives it could save?

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Of course, all I can imagine is the ways around it, and even the opportunities it might provide.

Imagine standing in the parking lot of a popular bar or nightclub, “Pssst . . . hey buddy, I’m stone cold sober, kick me down five bucks and I’ll give your breathalyzer a blow and get you on your way home.” You could make quite a killing in a night.

Designated blower? One sober friend could give two or three or four different friends’ cars started on the way home from the bar.

Or how about blowing in a balloon before your night gets started, tying it up securely and unleashing your sober breath from before you went out right into the machine?

Maybe even an oxygen tank would be a worthwhile investment, would probably last a year or more of nights out on the town.

It just seems to me that if people were determined to get around it, they’d surely find a way, but even with that, and even with the fact that the government is constantly insinuating itself into our lives in ever greater extremes, becoming more and more of an Orwellian nightmare with every passing day, this one incursion into our automobiles might be well worth it if only to consider the number of lives that could be saved. I’m not so worried about the drunks who get behind the wheel and kill themselves, but of the other share of the 17,000 innocent people who die from drunk driving every year, I think they do deserve a breathalyzer in every car.

Please do share your thoughts after voting and post below.

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2 Responses to France Mandates Breathalyzer Ignition Lock on All Cars

  • I think it is within the rights of the individual states to require something of this sort but I don’t believe the federal government has any constitutional jurisdiction here. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the idea but it’s not like they are recording the results – simply trying to prevent inebriated idiots from getting behind the wheel of a car.

    • I agree Bob, I wish I would have had the foresight to add that distinction to the post. This is a perfect example of something that would clearly fall under the 10th amendment and be an issue for each state to decide on its own.

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