In February, this blog discussed the story that federal lawmakers are considering whether or not to use their influence to increase the use of ignition interlocks in all drunk driving cases. That bill, at the federal level is currently stalled in Congress.
Under current North Carolina law, ignition interlocks may be required in some DWI cases, generally those involving high alcohol readings and in other circumstances. Now, sources indicate that North Carolina is one of seven states that are considering the use of ignition interlocks upon a conviction for all DWI offenses.
The national debate over ignition interlocks has received some contentious views. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a study Tuesday that says ignition interlocks reduce DWI recidivism. The American Beverage Institute says the study shows nothing new. The IIHS is a nonprofit organization funded by auto insurers, while the ABI represents the restaurant industry. The American Probation and Parole Association, which is an organization comprised of criminal justice professionals has their own view.
The APPA says that “requiring ignition interlocks for all DWI offenders is an unnecessary and costly response.” The group says that requiring the devices in all DWI cases would significantly increase state costs related to DWI convictions, estimating the state costs would increase by more than 2 million to supervise the interlock program.
The ABI says they are not opposed to the devices in principle, but the group says that for first-time offenders, mandating use in all cases goes too far. The group thinks judges should have discretion in first-time cases. Greenville DWI defense lawyers know that the devices can be beneficial for some to regain the privilege to drive, but for others the costs can be prohibitive.
Ignition interlocks act as a portable breath testing machine that is attached to the car’s ignition. The driver must blow into the machine before the car will start. If the machine detects a specified alcohol level, generally set at 0.02 percent BAC, the car will not start. Most devices require the driver to submit random samples thereafter, which are stored in the machine’s memory. The devices come with installation and monthly service fees, which some sources estimate can cost the driver ,200 or more each year.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving supports use of the devices in all DWI cases.
Source: WMFY News 2, “NC One Of 7 States Considering Ignition Locks For DUI Offenders,” Mar. 6, 2012