Cynthia Hites, Virginia Ignition Interlock Forum
VASAP unethically condones non-alcohol specific ignition interlock devices
The VASAP IID program was implemented under the misapprehension that fuel cell interlock devices solely detect alcohol.
The IID companies interchange two different definitions of alcohol to make the claim of alcohol specificity, because the fuel cell detects many compounds, not just ethanol, as the law required.
VASAP now understands this, because their clarification for proposal to amend 24VAC35-60-70, F, 3 clearly explains “the proposed regulations no longer include the words “alcohol specific” since ignition interlocks detect various forms of alcohol in addition to drinking alcohol (ethanol) and the current regulations and Code of Virginia define “alcohol” as ethanol. This has caused confusion to the public”.
The confusion is caused by VASAP continuing to mislead the public by insinuating the interlock devices *only* detect alcohol. It’s deceit, plain and simple, and it’s not just misleading the public - it’s misleading Judges, legislators and the court system.
It’s gaslighting people into thinking there is drinking alcohol present, when there’s not. It’s gaslighting judges into believing the devices measure a person’s alcohol level, and they do not.
The NHTSA and the interlock companies lied and mislead legislators into believing a simple alcohol specific sensor exists, but the only way that claim holds true is if “alcohol” is defined as “hydroxyl group compounds”, not ethanol.
Interlock devices do not measure alcohol. They detect hydroxyl group compounds and measure the electrons generated. They do not measure any substance, and they’re merely a preliminary indicator of the presence of hydroxyls, one of which is ethanol (C2H6O).
Police use the exact same technology in their handheld breathalyzers, but it’s recognized the results of PBTs are just preliminary, thus inadmissible in court.
Interlock is using this preliminary technology as definitive. It’s a PBT that’s inappropriately been elevated to a much higher status, and electrochemical fuel cells have not been certified as evidentiary.
The readings are just indicative of potential ethanol, and since IID devices are not held to the same standards as the EBT, the readings are inadmissible in court.
VASAP now acknowledges the devices are not alcohol specific, but they really, really wanna keep implying they only detect liquor. So instead of changing the definition of alcohol, which would be the ethically correct move, they double down on the deception.
VASAP *knows* IIDs don’t just detect ethanol, but here’s what the proposed regulations say:
“The ignition interlock device shall use an electrochemical fuel cell that reacts to and measures ethanol”.
Yes, it reacts to ethanol, but it also reacts to lots of other things. The proposed regs are even more deceptive!
The only way to make it right is to include the word solely ... reacts solely to ethanol.
Not to mention I filed a previous petition urging VASAP to change each reference to “alcohol” to “ethanol”.
The denial of that petition advised the language of all other documents and agencies was not to refer to C2H6O, but rather use the word “alcohol”, so it would be consistent.
All other references to ethanol are uniformly referred to as “alcohol” now, except this one, single reference where it’s used, strictly to deceive.
The interlock device casts a wide net because it’s not alcohol specific. The vast majority of people caught in the net are sober.
The devices detect hydroxyls in sober breath that are indicators of all sorts of disease states and malady.
Sober people breathe alcohol and using a non-alcohol specific device is UNETHICAL.
VASAP’s continued allowed usage of the electrochemical fuel cell is perpetuating a lie, engaging in deception, and renders the IID program devoid of all integrity.