Overly sensitive device leaving Comox Valley driver stranded with her children

A device that enables a Comox Valley woman to start her car has failed so many times she no longer wants to drive.

Comox Valley resident Denise Eigler admits she made a mistake when she drove after drinking

It’s a device that enables Denise Eigler to start and drive her vehicle, but it has failed so many times the Comox Valley woman no longer wants to drive her car.

Eigler received a DUI in 2008, and served a one-year driving suspension, paid thousands in court and other fines, and as part of a responsible driving program, installed an interlock ignition device in her vehicle.

Ever since mid-November when the temperature has dropped, Eigler said the device has given her false readings multiple times, stranding her inside her vehicle with her children.

“I made a big mistake,” explained Eigler. “I’m three years sober; I was an alcoholic, but I’m in recovery. I’m a good, strong person and I’m confident in what I’m doing, and it’s discouraging to have that machine tell me something different.”

Eigler had the device installed in her vehicle in April through a company contracted by Alcolock (formerly Guardian Interlock Service) in Nanaimo.

“It started to give me false readings and on two different occasions, it left me stranded on the side of the road. I have four kids aged four, eight, 10 and a disabled 10-year-old, and I had to walk them home for two kilometres in the middle of November at eight in the morning,” she noted.

On another occasion following prompting by the machine for a test, Eigler blew and failed, and after receiving a ride from her father, went to the RCMP station to ask for a breathalyzer.

“They allowed me to take the test and I passed. I went back for my van and blew again and failed.”

Eigler said she does not want to drive the vehicle, particularly with her children inside, because she can’t guarantee their safety to get them where they need to go.

She contacted the company when the machine began failing and received a second handset, which continues to give her false readings.

“Anything can trigger false readings — if you’ve had coffee, brushed your teeth, have a wet dog in the car, have a toddler spit up, or even use your windshield wipers,” she added.

Eigler wrote a formal complaint to the company, which suggested she continue to drive the vehicle if the test fails despite an alarm sounding.

She noted she paid $1,000 to have the machine installed, in addition to $150 per month in monitoring fees and will have to pay $1,000 in April to have the machine uninstalled. Eigler said while she is wanting to take responsibility for her actions by maintaining her end of the contract, the company and ICBC is not keeping up their end.

“People need to be aware that if you’re going to drink and drive, there are going to be consequences, but I’m keeping appointments for maintenance, and paying the fees, and it’s not working.”

Superintendent of Motor Vehicles Sam MacLeod said in a statement while he can’t comment of the specifics of a case, the ministry is aware of the situation and is following up with the service provider.

“In cases like this one, we encourage drivers to work with the service provider to resolve any technical issues or concerns. I understand that Alcolock Canada is actively investigating the matter, and a member of their team will be in contact with the driver to address this issue directly,” he said.

On Friday, a representative from Alcolock tested Eigler’s vehicle and provided her with a new handset.

Eigler said they tested her vehicle for ethanol and suggested the false reading could be coming from chemicals in her vehicle’s carpets.

“They brought a brand new handset directly from the manufacturer and tested it at their shop in Vancouver. They plugged it into my van and it immediately failed,” she explained, and added they suspect by turning the heat on in the vehicle, it may be circulating chemicals in the carpets, such as Scotchguard.

Eigler noted she plans to put the van in the garage with a heater and steam clean the carpets with hot water. If that fails, they suggested she open the door and stand outside when prompted to take the test, she added.

“I’m not the only one and I won’t be last who is having these problems. I’m trying hard to be good and honest, and the machine is slapping me in the face.”

photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

Just Posted

Valley student’s passion project helping Cumberland forest

It took a little while for Frederica Blouin-Comeau to find her passion… Continue reading

Emailed bomb threat triggers heavy police presence at Comox Valley RV

Heavy police presence could be seen at Comox Valley RV on Ryan… Continue reading

Baby, it’s nasty outside: wind and rain will continue across Vancouver Island

Police warn drivers and pedestrians to use precaution during expected rain and winds

Help the Comox Valley RCMP ‘Cram the Cruiser’ with items for the food bank

RCMP will be onsite at the Real Canadian Superstore Saturday

Transit Rider Appreciation Day Friday in the Comox Valley

Transit riders in the Comox Valley are invited to enjoy some festive… Continue reading

UPDATE: B.C. businesses evacuated due to emailed bomb threat, also received in U.S.

Penticton and Comox Valley businesses evacuated Thursday morning

VIDEO: Kitten rescued from under school bus in Duncan

School staff have affectionately called kitten “Axle”

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Coach accused of sexual assault says apology letter was misinterpreted

Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching

Give the gift of nature this holiday season

Please don’t be mad, but I bought you a moose

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

No plans yet for free WiFi on BC Transit buses

BC Transit says they are monitoring the roll-out of free WiFi on Translink vehicles

Some Kotex tampons recalled in Canada and U.S.

In some cases, tampon users sought medical attention “to remove tampon pieces left in the body.”

Sex-assault squad investigated eight incidents at Toronto all-boys’ school

The interim president of a Roman Catholic all-boys school rocked by student-on-student abuse allegations said the football program was cancelled for next year.

Most Read