Combating the alarming rate of recidivism in unsafe driving, many States are taking action to implement a mandatory breathalyzer interlock device on vehicles registered to persons who have been convicted of a DUI offense. This is becoming more commonly accepted as an effective means of constructively influence driving behaviors. This has become a serious issue, especially with statistics which illustrate the increasing likelihood of a vehicle fatality with each passing incident of impaired driving.

What is an Interlock Device?

Interlock breathalyzers are monitors which are connected to a vehicle’s engine and upon registering a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit, will inhibit the operability of the vehicle. In some States, the law requires that for a driver to be permitted to operate any vehicle after a DUI offense, they are not permitted to consume any alcohol. In these cases, the sensitivity of the breathalyzer is increased from the recognized .08 limit to a 0.24 limit. This level of detection is so sensitive that it may cause a driver to fail the breathalyzer even the morning after they have consumed any alcohol.

Short and Long Term Circumstances

While the daily use of the interlock breathalyzer can help to curb behaviors on an ongoing basis, the measurable benefits of the device do not end with just that. These devices are programmed to record all of the readings and data as part of a report which is shared with the driver’s probation officer. This becomes an official transcript of behavior for the driver to demonstrate that they are committed to not repeating the same offense. This is intended to both ensure the consistent use of the equipment and compliance with court judgment, but also to demonstrate completion of your sentence in the community. Especially considered the troubling statistic that more than 30% of DUI convictions lead to repeated offenses, monitoring the driver in this manner creates not only a habit-forming pattern of behavior, but also the opportunity for positive reinforcement and support at regular intervals as well.

In More Serious Cases

In order to ensure the honesty of drivers with a DUI record, some jurisdictions may issue a court sanction which requires the installation of an onboard camera and recording which shows that the driver is legitimately performing the breathalyzer test each time and not employing methods to fool the equipment such as getting a passenger to blow into the machine instead. Depending on the nature of the conviction, a judge may also dictate that GPS tracking be installed and enforced on the vehicle to monitor travel. This may be the case if a driver has been permitted a limited use of driving privileges for the purpose of travelling to and from work only, or other pre-identified criteria. The record will reflect how well the driver has complied with his or her conditions.

Which States Require this Device?

In 2010, there were only ten States that mandated the use of this equipment for drivers with at least one DUI conviction. By 2013, 33 States had adopted this practice, though some States have included some additional qualifying criteria. While some States have mandated that all offenders will be subject to this condition, fourteen States have more clearly articulated that the enforcement of this restriction is only applicable to offenders who have registered a high blood alcohol count at the time of their initial offense.

Since then, the practice has gained phenomenal support nationwide and at present, all but ten States have made this a required process for drivers who have demonstrated that they are repeat offenders with multiple convictions on their record. Currently only the District of Columbia, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Tennessee do not have this requirement in place.

Should You Be Subject to Conviction

Whether you require installing a breathalyzer interlock system on your vehicle or not after a conviction, it is certain that being found guilty will have an effect on your insurance rates. You may be allowed to drive but the parameters of your insurance needs might change. Check with your insurance provider as you may be required to carry high risk driving insurance policies such as SR22, FR44, SR50 and SR55A. We can help. Just fill out our quote form – and will call you back promptly.