MADD, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, and the US Department of Transportation are pushing for every state in America to require DUI offenders to install breath test machines in their vehicles. These machines, known as ignition interlock devices, supposedly test for alcohol on a motorist's breath before the driver can start their vehicle. Currently, New Mexico is the only state that requires interlock devices on all DUI offenders - including first offenders. That law became effective June 17, 2005.
In the research pipeline are experimental technologies that test for alcohol through the skin. One device mentioned would have a passive alcohol monitor configured in the steering which would test for alcohol on the driver's palm. Other ideas include ignition keys and gear shifts that have passive alcohol detecting.
I have litigated the scientific reliability of the current ignition interlock devices used in Central Ohio. The judge who heard the evidence we presented on behalf of a client not only apologized to our client for ever ordering the machine to begin with, but immediately stopped ordering them to be installed on her cases.
These devices are easily defeated and have a complete lack of specifity for ethyl that lead to many foods and beverages triggering false positives. We have had dozens upon dozens of complaints from our clients throughout the years that these things leave them stranded in parking lots and gas stations.
What sounds great in public policy and theory many times doesn't cut it in the real world. Before anymore states require these devices on otherwise law abiding citizens, a significant amount of independent research needs to be conducted.