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Washington's Alcohol Ignition Interlocks to Include Cameras Starting Jan. 1

Starting Jan. 1, 2013, a camera will snap a picture every time the machine is used, verifying that the driver is the person who took the test.

Alcohol ignition interlocks in Washington will soon have a feature designed to prevent others from performing breath tests for the driver. Starting Jan. 1, 2013, a camera will snap a picture every time the machine is used, verifying that the driver is the person who took the test.

Interlocks are required on the vehicles of those who’ve been accused or convicted of impaired driving. The machine requires a legal breath sample from the driver before allowing a car to start.

“We’ve had cases where impaired drivers asked passengers, friends or even children to take the test for them,” said Lt. Rob Sharpe, commander of the Washington State Patrol’s Impaired Driving Section. “We’ve even heard stories of people trying to use portable air compressors to take the test.”

Failures or attempts to tamper with the device get recorded by the machine’s software. The company which leases the interlocks downloads the information and in turn contacts the State Patrol.

“We do make personal visits to drivers if we have evidence they have tried to fool the machine,” Sharpe said. “Having a picture will be the best possible evidence that someone was trying to cheat.”

Washington has what’s called an Ignition Interlock License, allowing those whose drivers’ licenses would normally be suspended to drive legally with an interlock. It was an acknowledgment that those accused or convicted of impaired driving have jobs and family obligations that require a car.

“History taught us that these people were going to drive anyway,” said Captain Rob Huss, commander of WSP’s Office of Government and Media Relations. “The Ignition Interlock License gives them a way to drive legally, but gives the rest of us some assurance that they’re sober and safe.” 

Drivers can lose their Ignition Interlock License by attempting to fool the machine, and the photographs will provide new accountability for those trusted with the license.

Information provided by the Washington State Patrol.

Jay Anglemyer December 28, 2012 at 10:58 PM
What good is snapping a picture of the driver, anyone who can blow a .025 or less can drive the vehicle, not just the person to whom the ignition interlock is registered to. And with a sample required every 45 minutes, the 6 minutes you have to give that sample by blowing again in more than ample time for a driver to change seats with the passenger for the picture. Its still going to be easy for someone to beat the system who desires too. It should be imposed on those who get caught cheating the device, not those of us whom follow the rules. Ive been 3 years with no violation, I think its unfair to us honest users of the IID.
Lise December 29, 2012 at 10:18 PM
I don't really care what they do with this thing as long as the accused it the one paying for it. Like the previous poster mentioned, if there is cheating I say whats the point?
Akiko Oda January 02, 2013 at 10:34 PM
Here's more information on the law: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=204-50-110
Sarah schwab March 02, 2013 at 02:57 AM
What if a health condition is keeping A person from being able to blow into it?

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