NJ Bill: Ignition Interlock Device for First-time DUI

The New Jersey House of Representatives and Senate have passed a bill that would require the installation of ignition interlock devices for all persons convicted of a DUI offense, including first-time DUI offenders. The bill now goes to Governor Chris Christie for his signature to make the bill state law. If he signs it, New Jersey would become the 25th state in the country to require all persons convicted of DUI offenses to install ignition interlock devices.

What is an ignition interlock device?

An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer type-device installed in a person’s vehicle. The device detects the amount of alcohol in a person’s system. It shuts the engine down if the alcohol limit is beyond a certain threshold, thus preventing the person from driving. The device is also designed to randomly measure the person’s alcohol level as he is driving to ensure the person does not drink as he’s driving.

The new law would require that a first-time DUI offender with blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.08 and 0.10 install the device for three months. They would also lose their license for 10 days. And first-time DUI offenders with a BAC of 0.10 to 0.15 would install the device for seven months to a year. Penalties are harsher for repeat offenders.

Currently, a first-time DUI offender loses his license for three months and may, at the judge’s discretion, have to install the device for six months to a year after license restoration. Though if the offender’s BAC is 0.15 or above, installation is mandatory for six months to a year after license restoration.

Ignition Interlock Devices May Save Lives

Ignition interlock devices significantly reduce repeat DUI, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Researchers found that installation of devices reduced repeat offenses for alcohol-impaired driving by 67 percent compared to drivers with a suspended license. With fewer drunk drivers behind the wheel – because they can’t start their own vehicle – it can make the roads safer for everybody.

If you’re ever out drinking with friends, use a designated driving service, designate a sober driver, or call a taxi. Don’t risk getting behind the wheel – doing so puts yourself and others at risk.

The Cordisco & Saile article library contains other articles about driving risks and car accidents that may be of interest to motorists in Trenton. And if you ever suffer injuries in an alcohol-related accident that someone else caused, call Cordisco & Saile at 215-642-2335.