In addition to still being dangerous, drunk driving is now more expensive in Connecticut.
When the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Day, along with the year 2012, it brought with it new drunk driving laws on the books in the Nutmeg State.
From now on, drivers convicted for their first drunk driving offense in Connecticut are required by law to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for a year in order to drive their cars. Such a device requires the driver of a vehicle to blow into it, like a breathalyzer, before the car will start.
A conviction also carries with it 45 days of a suspended license, down from the year a driver’s license would have been suspended prior to the New Year.
Chief Douglas Fuchs, who is also President of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, said he thinks the device will help curb drunk driving violations.
“I would equate this device to placing a speed hump on a road on which speeding is an issue,” Fuchs said. “It is very difficult to speed over the hump and much more difficult to operate a vehicle when an [ignition interlock device] is required.”
According to a representative from Sens-O-Lock of America, a company which manufactures interlock devices, installing the device costs $100 and there is a $75 monthly charge to rent it. Furthermore, the device needs to be recalibrated every other month for $20. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, there’s also a $100 administration fee to install the device.
Connecticut joins 15 other states which require installation of the device after a first conviction of drunk driving with a blood alcohol content of over .08, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. There are 13 states which require installation of the device for drivers convicted with BACs over .15.
According to the DMV, a driver’s second drunk driving conviction requires he or she have the interlock device installed on his or her vehicle for three years. That driver’s license would also be suspended for 45 days.
Prior to Jan. 1, those convicted for their second drunk driving offense would have their license suspended for a year and would be required to have an interlock device installed on their vehicle for two years.
reported 58 DUI arrests in 2011.
According to MADD, interlock devices reduce DUI recidivism by 67 percent.