State Requires All Convicted Drunken Drivers To Use Auto Interlock Devices
Ignition interlocks gauge blood alcohol content after a person blows into a tube for several seconds. If the BAC surpasses a threshold, the engine will not spark and the would be driver cheap jerseys will either have to wait or try to cheat. (More on cheating later.)
Before Jan. 1, state law required interlocks only after a second conviction for drunken driving. Now, those with one conviction must have the device installed on any cars they plan to drive. The interlock must stay on the car for one year after the driver completes a 45 day license suspension.
After a second conviction, the driver is allowed on the road after another 45 day suspension, but the ignition lock must remain on the car for three years. The state judicial branch and Department of Motor Vehicles are the compliance monitoring agencies.
“We’re always looking for ways to improve our efforts to combat drunken driving in Connecticut,” DMV spokesman William Seymour said. “When opportunities come up, we look at them and determine what the value is. In this case, there was a concerted effort to try this.”
In use since the 1980s, ignition interlocks are an increasingly popular tool in the nationwide battle against drunken driving. Currently, Connecticut, 14 other states and part of California require the devices for first time DUI convicts.
Interlocks have reduced drunken driving recidivism by a median of 67 percent, according to a 2011 news release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2009 that interlocks “reduce recidivism among both first time and repeat DWI offenders, with reductions in subsequent DWI arrests ranging from 50 to 90 percent while the interlock is installed on the vehicle.”
If mandatory use was more widespread, up to 750 lives could be saved each year, according to a study by the NHTSA. The number of drunken driving deaths has plunged over the past three decades from 21,113 in 1982 to 10,228 in 2010, according to the NHTSA.
Most people convicted of DUI drove drunk many times before they were caught, and many continue to drive impaired after arrests and convictions, studies have found. Typically in Connecticut, a first conviction follows a second arrest because the first offense is cleared from records if the driver completes an alcohol education program, which is still part of the judicial process in Connecticut.
To drop drunken driving fatalities even further, organizations that include the CDC and MADD are pushing for more widespread use of ignition interlocks. MADD recently applauded pending national legislation that would provide financial incentives to states that expand required use.
DUI convicted drivers in Connecticut will bear the cost of interlock installation and monitoring and it’s not cheap. The DMV charges $100 for an ingition interlock application. Installation, typically done by a retail outfit that deals in automotive electronics and accessories, runs about $150. The driver also must pay monthly monitoring and maintenance costs of about $75, according to Jason Ball, director of the call center at Smart Start, a Texas based company that is among the five interlock vendors for Connecticut.
At 0.025 blood alchohol content, the interlock threshhold in the state is well below the legal driving limit of 0.08. Most people who have one drink in one hour will not surpass the 0.025 http://www.cheapjerseys11.com/ mark, but any imbibing beyond that usually will trigger a red light on the device
So what about the interlocked driver who’s had two or three beers and a shot of tequila in the past hour? Can he cheat the system by persuading a sober friend to blow into the tube?
Some states require the devices to include cameras, the surest way to prevent cheating, Smart Start President Jim Ballard said. Connecticut does not require camera equipped interlocks, but there are other ways to ensure compliance, Ballard said.
First, drivers are trained in using the devices. Activating the interlock requires a deep lung blow of several seconds, followed by a specific humming sound, Ball said. Also, drivers must submit to “rolling retests.” At random, the device alerts a driver to pull over and blow into the tube again. The interlock records threshhold breaking blows and failures to stop and re test. Monitoring agencies are supposed to regularly review the data to check compliance. Punishment for violations can include extension of the time an interlock must be on a vehicle.
Also, if a person who is supposed to be driving a car with an interlock is driving another car without the device, the monitoring agencies will be alerted that the interlock is not being used, Ballard said.
Sixty to 80 percent of interlock devices record BAC results above a set threshold, according to the NHTSA. Most people fail the tests in the early morning, the agency found.
“Experts believe most of the morning alcohol positive tests are completed by drivers who drank heavily the night before and discover the realities of alcohol dissipation curves,” according to the agency.