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Car Breathalyzers Mandatory for DUI Offenders

Beginning this year, first-time convicted DUI offenders must now install and rent an ignition-interlock breathalyzer device at their own expense.

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.

Jenny Golfin January 11, 2012 at 12:15 PM
I think this is a great idea. I've been saying that this should be done for the longest time. Of course there is the off chance that some not so bright sober person will help their drunk friend start their car and then be the passenger in a car with a drunk driver. Ridiculous idea but it could happen, a lot of people out there simply lack common sense and give into peer pressure way too easily.
Rational Wilton Mom January 11, 2012 at 03:48 PM
I wish they would have some device that would stop vehicles from operating when the driver is either on their cell phone, or worse, TEXTING!!!!!
JRM815 January 12, 2012 at 05:44 PM
It is great idea in principle, but what we keep hearing is the DUI offender installs the device on his/her car, and then drives his/her spouse's car to the bar/party. Unless the law has teeth and severely penalizes the DUI offender for a second or third offense (like losing the car currently being driven), people will find ways around using the breathalyzer.
Resident January 13, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Driving is a privilege. If you drink and drive, or text and drive you create an unsafe condition for the rest of us on the road and should lose the privilege to drive for a period of time. I am not sure we need devices to make the penalties more manageable and convenient for the offenders.
Ryan December 13, 2012 at 04:48 AM
This is a good concept but at the moment is a very faulty system. I have talked to many people who have had to rent these things at ridiculous prices. I have heard of cases of these things malfunctioning and leaving people stranded to come get their car towed. Oh yea again at their own expense. I have even heard of a stort of these things breaking down someones car! Yea good move CT. Next time before you put a law into effect invest alittle more into the reseach eh?

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