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The Ignition Interlock Device Law for Drunk Drivers

It has been one year, since the Ignition Interlock Device Law became a reality for Connecticut drivers. It is important to understand the various elements that put the law intro practice. It is also important to understand just how strict this law actually is. When you can keep both of these things in mind, you will be in a much better position to appreciate how the law has improved things to a dramatic degree.

Why Was This Law Created?

Between 2003 and 2012, the state of Connecticut counted an astonishing number of drunk-driving related fatalities. In total, over the course of those nine years, 1, 039 drunk-driving related fatalities were counted. Across the nation, the numbers are even bleaker. In 2013 alone, over ten thousand drunk-driving related fatalities were counted. Clearly, something dramatic needed to happen, if these numbers were ever going to change., although according to numerous sources, including DUI Attorney Santa Cruz, the numbers are not necessarily an accurate indication of deaths/injuries caused by actual drunk drivers.

West Manchester Township Police Officer Adam Bruckhart, left, and York Area Regional Police Officer Mike Georgiou observe a driver suspected of being under the influence of alcohol as he performs a field sobriety test at a DUI checkpoint on the business loop of Interstate 83 Friday, April 23, 2010. The driver was later arrested on suspicion of DUI. DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - KATE PENN

Connecticut decided to become one of the states that would work to stem the apparent senseless tide, argues advocates of the law.

On July 1st, Connecticut established a law that sought to accomplish two things. In the first place, it wanted to substantially curb the temptation to drink and drive. Furthermore, the law wanted to establish a precedent in which first-time offenders would scarcely have the opportunity to make a second mistake. To that end, as you can imagine, the new state law that went into effect on July 1st was going to be a profoundly strict law. To begin with, all DUI offenders would be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicles.

If this sounds like something you have heard about in the past, you are not incorrect. As it currently stands, twenty-four other states have elected to crack down on first-time offenders. Connecticut is just one the twenty-four currently requiring first-time DUI offenders to have one of these devices attached to these cars. All fifty U.S. states have this device in some form or fashion for DUI perpetrators. Approximately the size of a TV remote, you will find that the device sits on the front of a vehicle.

How Does the Law Work?

The ignition interlock device is a type of breathalyzer. Once the device has been attached to the vehicle, the function of the device is simple. An individual will breathe into the ignition interlock device (also known as an IID). A limit has been set with the device. If the driver goes over the limit, they will not be able to start their car. If the device stays under the limit, they will be able to start their car.

While all of the above sounds pretty straightforward, the device requires more. An individual with one of these devices on their car will need to provide random samples along their journey.

In other words, if the sample goes above .025, the car is not going to start. The device will stick to that sample limit for the random breathalyzer tests, as well.

It certainly makes sense for Connecticut to look to the device for help. However, the law as it was passed one year ago wanted to do something a bit more ambitious. It wanted to put as substantial a dent into the number of drunk driving incidents as humanly possible. Thus far, the measure has proven to be enormously successful. This has been the case in most of the states in which stricter measures with the IID has been put into effect.

One Year Later

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Both the national and state chapters of MADD pushed for Connecticut to take stricter measures with drunk drivers. They are no doubt pleased that the results of the law thus far have been encouraging. The law has led to a drop in incidents, accidents, and fatalities across the board.

Given that the legal limit for Connecticut is 0.08, the law has thus far been a powerhouse measure. It answers the criticism that the laws on the books prior to last July 1st were too lenient. Those within organizations such as MADD expressed distaste with consequences like suspended licenses and jail time, believing that neither of those things compelled meaningful change. Once the new law went into effect, over sixty-five hundred Connecticut drivers were impacted.

It stands to reason that additional states will put similar laws on the books, as time goes on.

Published inConnecticutDemocracyPolitics

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