On December 10, 2012, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) endorsed ignition interlock devices (IID) for first time DUI offenders throughout the United States as part of its research into wrong way drivers and crashes. The NTSB recommends that all persons convicted of a drunk driving violation – including first time DUI offenders – be required to install an ignition interlock in their vehicle in an effort to curb the volume of drunk driving offenses. The NTSB also endorsed ongoing research and development by automakers to passively determine whether a person is too impaired to operate a motor vehicle safely. The NTSB, known for its investigations of airplane crashes, focused on traffic safety with mounting highway deaths.
The NTSB, however, has no enforcement authority. It is up to individual states to determine whether they will adopt the recommendation. At this time, only 17 states require ignition interlock devices for first time DUI offenders. Last year, the Federal government authorized grants to states who adopt ignition interlock devices for first time offenders as encouragement for states to pass ignition interlock legislation.
What is an Ignition Interlock Device?
An ignition interlock device is a device added to your vehicle that forces drivers to test their blood alcohol content by blowing into a tube. If your blood alcohol is below the legal limit, your vehicle will start. If your blood alcohol content is above the legal limit, the vehicle won’t start.
Ignition interlock devices are expensive to both install and maintain. The devices must be calibrated frequently to ensure that they’re working. If the NTSB’s recommendation is adopted in your state, a DUI conviction will significantly increase the cost of drunk driving convictions.
NTSB Endorsement of Ignition Interlock Device Criticized and Embraced
Not unexpectedly, the NTSB’s recommendation was met with swift reaction both criticizing and welcoming it. On the one hand, organizations such as Mother Against Drunk Driving (MADD) heartily welcomed the recommendation with open arms. The restaurant industry condemned the recommendation as overly broad and intrusive, in essence, performing a surgery with a chainsaw rather than a scalpel.
Ignition Interlock Devices Are Coming To Your State
Regardless of political opposition, it is inevitable that ignition interlock devices will be required, in some capacity, on all first time DUI offenders in the future. At some point, it is likely that all 50 states will pass legislation mandating IIDs. The associated cost of IIDs is an added impetus to ensure that you consult with a reputable DUI attorney in your jurisdiction. A DUI arrest is not a DUI conviction. Speak to a DUI attorney immediately.