Offenders’ alcohol ignition interlocks include cameras

January 1, 2013

By Staff

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 1, 2013

Smile, motorists. Statewide, alcohol ignition interlocks feature cameras starting Jan. 1, in a bid to prevent other people from performing breath tests for the driver.

The camera snaps a picture whenever the device is used, to verify the driver is person performing the test. The law requires alcohol ignition interlocks for motorists accused or convicted of impaired driving.

The device requires a legal breath sample from the driver before allowing the vehicle to start.

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

The device’s software records failures and tampering attempts. The company leasing the alcohol ignition interlocks downloads the information and 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.”

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