Blow This

25 years ago, one of the little suburban townships in St. Louis County, way ahead of the curve, took the high road on drunk driving.

“High road,” of course, is local government speak for “what the hell were they thinking?”


Anyway, the town fathers — probably at the urging of the town mothers, this being St. Louis West County — decided that what every bar in town needed was a breathalyzer. And not just needed, but mandated by city ordinance. Their noble intention was to ensure that no one would ever again leave a Des Peres bar drunk.

The scenario they imagined must have gone like this:

Very Drunk Person: I must leave the bar now and return home to my wife and my children.

Bartender: Don’t forget to blow in the breathalyzer first, sir! Here’s a straw!

Very Drunk Person: Thank you, barkeep.

The very drunk person would then stick the straw in the breathalyzer, blow, and look for his number — and then call a cab if over the legal limit. I never saw one of the things in person, but I heard they looked kind of like an arcade game, complete with cute little graphics showing just how drunk you were at rising blood alcohol levels.

That’s not exactly how things went. Instead:

Very Drunk Person: I’m not drunk. Gimme that straw. Heh — lookit that, I’m double the legal limit, but I can walk just fine.

Other Drunk Person: I can beat that. [Blows into machine] Thing says I should be in a coma. Top that!

Third Drunk Person: [Throws up on machine]


The ordinance didn’t last a year before the city fathers wised up and repealed the thing.

It’s with that in mind that I read this story from New Mexico:

Some state lawmakers are convinced they have the answer to solve the D.W.I. epidemic and want to require everyone on the road to take a breathalyzer test before they can start the engine of any vehicle.

Today, the proposal is one very large step closer to becoming law.

A bill requiring an ignition interlock device be installed on every car, truck, bus or motorcycle in New Mexico passed the state house today and is on its way to the senate.

Representative Ken Martinez introduced the bill and says he was pleasantly surprised with today’s vote.

My guess is, he


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