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NTSB Proposes Mandatory Ignition Interlock Law

The United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) met recently to discuss recommending that all states enact legislation requiring the installation of ignition interlock devices in the vehicles of all those convicted of his or her first driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI) offense. Federal accident researchers are evaluating whether these sorts of measures would help prevent car accidents involving drunk drivers.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device is a small machine, similar to a Breathalyzer, that is connected to the ignition system of an automobile. Before the engine of the vehicle can be started, the driver must blow into the device. If the driver's blood alcohol concentration is above the set limit, the car will not start. In addition, at random times while the vehicle is in motion, the device will require the driver to provide a breath sample. If the driver does not provide a sample or if the sample exceeds the set blood alcohol concentration, the device will log the event and trigger an alarm until the ignition is turned off.

New York Law Requires Interlock Devices for First Time Offenders

In New York, Leandra's Law dictates that all DWI offenders - even those convicted of a first offense -must have ignition interlock devices installed in any vehicle they own or operate and must have an "ignition interlock" restriction added to their driver's licenses. The ignition interlock device must remain in the vehicle for at least six months.

Living with an ignition interlock device is not only inconvenient, it is also costly. Offenders bear the cost of installing the ignition interlock device and vendors can charge anywhere from $50 to $200. In addition, offenders must pay a monthly rental fee - typically around $100 - and must pay for any necessary maintenance expenses. It may also be necessary to schedule appointments to calibrate the device and to download the data it collects.

Contact an Experienced DWI Defense Attorney

If you or someone you love has been charged with driving while intoxicated or driving while ability impaired, contact an experienced DWI defense attorney. A knowledgeable DWI defense lawyer can assess your case, advise you of the potential effects of a conviction or plea deal, and help you protect your rights. For more information about what a DWI defense attorney can do for you, contact a lawyer today.