Ignition interlock devices may save lives

Drunk drivers take the lives of more than 10,800 people and injure approximately 290,000 people every year in the United States, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. While families are out navigating the New Jersey roadways, they are driving alongside thousands of drunk drivers who have three or more prior drunk driving convictions. So, what is being done to limit the number of drunk drivers that are able to climb behind the wheel and commit another offense? 

Ignition interlock devices deter convicted drunk drivers from engaging in this deadly practice. The device is installed directly into the vehicle’s ignition system. Before the car will start, the driver must blow a breath sample into a tube connected to the device. The BAC level must then measure below a certain level. If the BAC level is above that level, the car will not start and all information is recorded in the device. Periodically, the driver will be prompted to submit further breath samples in order to keep the car running. The devices require regular maintenance where information regarding startup attempts and BAC levels is transmitted to law enforcement officials.

At least 33 states in the country require all drunk driving offenders to use ignition interlock devices on their vehicles. Sadly, New Jersey is not one of them. According to state statutes, first time offenders who have a blood alcohol content level of 0.15 or higher are required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. Yet, anyone with a BAC under this level is not required to install the device.



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