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New DUI “Lock Laws” established for 2009

Posted in Crime Prevention January 6th, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

On January 1, 2009, Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Nebraska and Washington are now requiring devices to be installed in your car if you are convicted of first-time drunk driving. If you are a repeat offender in South Carolina, you will need to have this device installed in your car.

These “Lock Laws” as they are called, requires that you install breath-monitoring gadgets into your ignition where you breathe into the gadget before starting your car. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has been advocating this law for many years. They claim that having these interlock gadgets would save thousands of lives. But critics say interlocks could lead to measures that restrict alcohol policies and offers a way out for offenders. For example, an offender could have a non-drinking companion breathe into the device to start the car.

The breath-monitoring gadgets aren’t cheap. Offenders must pay for the fist-sized devices around $80 to install on dashboards and $80 a month to rent. Some states may also charge a $30 monthly state fee. These devices also need periodic retesting while the car is running.

New Mexico, Arizona and Louisiana have similar laws to the “Lock Law” but give judges the option of enforcing the use of the devices.

To require the breath-monitoring gadgets for a first time offender seem rather excessive as well as expensive. However, repeat offenders not only need to have this device but also should seek counseling for their addiction. Even though several states using this law have seen a decrease in DUIs, more study needs to be done before requiring first time offenders use the breath monitors.

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