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Ignition Interlock Devices Reduce DUIs, Study Says

March 23, 2011 | Posted In Recent News - Criminal Law |

A new study suggests that ignition interlock devices, which aim to prevent drivers from starting their cars if their intoxication levels are over the legal limit, reduce drunk driving.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It found that when ignition interlock devices were used, the arrest rate for drunk driving decreased by 67 percent relative to comparison groups. About 200,000 vehicles in the country currently are fitted with these ignition interlock devices. 

According to the researchers, the ignition interlock devices seem to be very effective at helping reduce the numbers of DUI cases involving repeat offenders. 

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock system is a device that is mounted on the dashboard of the car. It works similar to breath tests like the Breathalyzer.  The device detects breath alcohol content on a motorist, and if it finds that the alcohol content is high, it shuts down the ignition of the car. This prevents the motorist from starting the car and driving off.  The use of these devices is growing nationwide.

Ignition Interlock Devices in New Jersey

In New Jersey, a judge can require a DUI offender to install an ignition interlock device in the car for a period of between six months and one year.  If the alcohol content is higher than .15%, then the ignition interlock device has to be installed for the entire period of the license suspension.  Even after the person's license has been reinstated, the motorist may have to continue to retain the ignition interlock device for a period of between six months and one year.  In case of repeat drunk driving offenders, ignition interlock device requirements may become more stringent. 

Persons who fail to comply with ignition interlock device requirements can have their driver's licenses suspended for an additional year on top of all the original penalty suspensions.

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