New Ignition Interlocks for Tattoo Parlors – “Think Before You Ink”
LifeSafer, the country’s leading manufacturer of ignition interlocks, has introduced a new device which is designed to cut down on the number of unfortunate tattoos that have plagued the US of late. The device, called TatScat, prevents a person from being tattooed unless he or she is alcohol-free.
Many people know about ignition interlocks, or car breathalyzers, which prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.
Using this same advanced breathalyzer technology, the TatScat connects to the transformer of the electric tattoo needle. The subject must blow into the device’s mouthpiece before the artist can begin inking. If the subject registers a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than .02, the needle will not start. A BAC of .02 is a small but significant impairment, not enough to have a full-size portrait of Kurt Cobain inscribed on one’s back, but more than enough to have small Chinese characters that actually mean “refrigerate after opening” tattooed on one’s ankle.
Having promoted sober driving for more than 20 years, LifeSafer moved quite naturally into the field of sober tattooing. “No one thinks about the problem until it’s their son who comes home with “Go Seahwaks” tattooed on his neck,” says Ron Finley, Marketing Director at LifeSafer. “When people drink, they make bad choices in tattoo parlors.”
Surprisingly, many tattoo artists are welcoming the device. “Last week a woman came in after a night of partying wanting me to ink the Ralph Lauren polo pony on each kneecap,” says Marv Crocker, a tattoo artist in Federal Way, Washington. “And there was that guy who needed a second set of eyes on the back of his head. Sometimes I can’t sleep at night thinking about that one.”
A bill is now in the Washington state senate which would make interlocks mandatory in tattoo parlors. Several legislators are on board, though for the moment the device is optional in every state. Still, LifeSafer is optimistic. Says Finley: “If we can prevent one person from having “BELEAVE” tattooed on their index finger, then it will have been worth it.”
Next month the company is introducing an interlock for use in Las Vegas wedding chapels.