Mayor Drives Without His Ignition Interlock. Mayor Goes to Jail.

jail for ignition interlock violationAlcohol doesn’t discriminate. It impairs everyone’s judgment, compromises everyone’s reflexes and reaction times, and makes everyone a worse driver.

And because alcohol doesn’t discriminate depending on a person’s job title, neither should ignition interlock laws. And for that reason, the mayor of Rock Hall, Maryland was just sentenced to a couple of days in jail. Brian Jones, mayor of Rock Hall, was on probation for a January DUI incident. An ignition interlock device was installed in his vehicle. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. Jones signed an agreement not to drive any vehicle that does not have an interlock installed.

This June Jones drove a police car that was not equipped with an ignition interlock to attend a convention in Ocean City. It might seem like a small infraction, but the law is clear.

Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Employer Exemption

Or is it clear? Jones’s attorney contended that it was all right to operate town vehicles. Maryland has an exemption that allows DUI offenders to operate a vehicle owned by an employer that is not equipped with an interlock device.

However, it appears that the exemption did not apply in this case.

The point here is not that the mayor of Rock Hall willfully tried to flout the law. It’s very reasonable to assume that he was under the impression that it was all right to borrow a police car as part of his job.

But what the case does highlight is that ignition interlocks only work when the laws pertaining to them are applied – equally and fully. That’s apparently what happened here. Compliance is crucial. Recently Maryland passed Noah’s Law, requiring ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders. It’s an important step that will take a lot of dangerous people off the state’s roads and streets.

But only if the law is enforced, fully and impartially.