Interlock Devices — a Violation of Distracted Driving & New Electronic Device Laws?

Interlock Devices — a Violation of Distracted Driving & New Electronic Device Laws?

Is A Department Of Licensing Required, or Court Ordered, Interlock Device A Violation Of Washington State Laws Regarding "Distracted Driving," Or The Newest "Electronic" Device Law?


Is a Department Of Licensing required or court-ordered Interlock Device a violation of Washington State laws regarding "distracted driving," or the newest "electronic" device law?

After much debate and the effective date, Washington Motorists are now subject to the following two statutes:

1. Dangerously Distracted Driving

RCW 46.61.673

A secondary action means that you may not be stopped for the infraction, but once stopped if witnessed by the officer then you may be cited for this. Secondary infractions frequently become elevated to primary infractions over time. An example of this is Washington States seatbelt law. It originated a secondary infraction and then after time became a primary infraction. When secondary, if you were stopped for a speed limit violation and when the officer walked up to the car, if it was obvious you were not wearing a seatbelt then the infraction was enforceable. After not too many years the legislature elevated it from secondary to primary.

Primary infractions often are the basis for vehicle stops, which lead to DUI investigation and then DUI arrests.

The Department Of Licensing (DoL), and the Courts at some point in almost every DUI case require an Ignition Interlock on an arrestees vehicles. If a first arrest the DoL requires an interlock after the DoL suspends or revokes the driver's license of those who provide an over .08 breath sample or who refuse pursuant to a "sustained" administrative action. Everyone convicted of a DUI is required by DoL to have an IID for at least 1 year after any suspension is imposed due to that DUI conviction.

If you have previously been arrested for a DUI, and subsequently arrested a second time, the Court orders the Defendant to install and maintain an IID, and if they fail to do so, then the DoL will suspend the person's license until they comply with the court order.

Having said all this, if stopped for a primary infraction, and using the IID during the stop because the device requires a "random" sample you can now be cited for the infraction above.

2. Using a Personal Electronic Device While Driving

RCW 46.61.672

More importantly, consider the other Washington State Statute:

An interlock device is handheld. Stores or saves data, transmits data, is not handsfree capable and is equipped with a GPS and camera to record the face of the person using. The device requires a test to start the car and random "rolling" testing. It has an LCD (liquid crystal screen/display) and a person is required to look at it and follow some directions for the timing of use and actual use.

As a result of all these things, it is squarely within the purview of the law and in some way shape or form is mandated by the law or the DoL.

Since 2004, an IID has been required in increasing frequency to the point it is currently being ordered by the court or DoL in our State and it has always been my opinion and the opinion of many of my colleagues that the IID is dangerous, and an improper DUI countermeasure because if you believe the "distracted driving" statistics driving while distracted is MORE dangerous than DUI. Unfortunately, it will likely take a vehicular fatality before the legislature takes notice. A case of distracted Court ordered IID use occurred recently in late 2017 in Texas just such a tragedy occurred.

The story was reported by Fox News and mostly republished below.

A Texas woman died after being hit by a non-impaired driver who was taking a breathalyzer test while operating his vehicle. Alexis Butler, 18, was backing her car out of a driveway on Nov. 10 when the passenger side of her car was hit by a pickup truck. An investigation by the Arlington Police Department didn’t find any track marks from the 31-year-old unidentified driver on the road that would indicate he tried to stop the car. The driver reportedly told police that he couldn't see Butler’s car because his eyes were off the road while performing a breathalyzer test on a court-ordered device "for three to four seconds." Police said he was non-impaired at the time. The ignition interlock device prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver is found to have been drinking. "Number one thing we’ll look at is tracking down the original court order to read exactly what it said," Lt. Chris Cook stated. “And more importantly for us, as a police department, is to determine what the manufacturer recommendation is as far as the guidelines in how to operate this type of equipment. "It’s very concerning to us, as a police department, that an individual may be operating some type of ignition equipment while they’re in a moving vehicle," Cook said. The department, according to KXAS, said even though the driver hadn’t been drinking, he could still be charged.

Read the Original Story

The anti-DUI mechanism of IID’s quickly swept our State from 2004 to current date, and has mostly been ignored in terms of the dangers it poses due to the focus on it being the perfect antidote to DUI, because while may indeed it prevents DUI, it simultaneously creates a driving danger to others that is identical.