It’s no secret that driving while intoxicated can come with punishment. Besides carrying around the stigma, convicted offenders must deal with expensive fines and marks on their records. And while first time offenders deal with a significant burden, punishment for repeat offenses gets much worse. It’s a lot harder to be sympathetic to someone who’s learned their lesson and continues to break the law. First time offenders may even take time to sober up before hitting the road, and still be pulled over.
Regardless of what the situation is, there is hope for the prevention of these DWIs. Recently, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy signed a bill into law that will cut down on these repeated offenses. It’s all thanks to a device called the ignition interlock.
What does this device do exactly?
The ignition interlock takes breath samples from the respective driver and measures the amount of blood alcohol content. By collecting breath samples from the driver, it will not let the car start if it traces too much alcohol on their breath. What’s more, since levels of intoxication can change over time, the ignition interlock can require re-tests from its drivers while they are operating the vehicle.
Connected to the car, drivers will have to pay to lease out their personal ignition interlock. So, this device sounds like a pricey and embarrassing accessory to have in a car. That is until you realize that multiple offenses could lead to license revocation for up to 10 years and a thousand dollars worth of fines, just for starters. It’s the difference between an inconvenience and a colossal hassle.
Will it actually help?
Statistics show that it already is. Interlocks have already been in use for a while. Interlocks prevented thousands of drunk driving incidents in state last year—to be more specific 13,500. The Center For Disease Control report that that interlocks reduce repeat DWIs by 70%. While the devices are nothing new, efforts to expand their use are, and they’re proving to be successful.
While before the use of interlocks, repeat offenders would have their license suspended, this mechanical prevention makes it possible for shorter suspensions, as they don’t have a chance to drive even if they wanted to.
A one time DWI causes stress and misery. Repeat DWIs ratchet up the punishment, even when the driver swears they felt sober. The results are already in for ignition interlocks, and with the governor bringing them to a wider audience, one can only hope that they continue their track record of preventing DWI pullovers, preventing stress and potentially saving lives. If you have more questions about drunk driving defense, please contact a legal professional.