A bill before the legislature would make DWI interlocking devices available to all who’ve been convicted of driving while under the influence as an alternative to license revocation.

Right now the law states that if you blow a Blood Alcohol Content of .15 or greater, the interlocking device is mandatory.

The latest provisions recommended by the Senate Judiciary Committee would expand the use of the device to all those who’ve been convicted of DWI depending on the number of offenses and the amount of alcohol in their blood.

Right now all state mandate the use of the devices and 20 states mandate them for first time offenders.

According to this from the New Jersey Law Journal:

Under S-385, a first-time offender with a BAC of between .08 and .10 percent would have the device installed for three months. A driver with a BAC between .10 percent and .15 percent would have the device installed for seven months to a year.

A first-time offender with a BAC of .15 percent of more would receive a 7- to 12-month suspension but could apply to have a device installed after 90 days.

In any event, licenses would be suspended for 10 days to allow for rental and installation of the device.
A person with a second DWI would see his or her license suspended for two to four years, instead of two years, and a person with a third DWI will have his or her license suspended for 10 to 20 years, instead of the current 10 years. A judge could order a device to be installed for an additional period following the suspension.

The legislation was written with advice from the Washington, D.C.-based Coalition of Ignition Interlock Manufacturers.

The most common complaint against the use of the interlocking device has always been what happens when the offender uses another car – or has someone else blow into the device to start the car.

Both of these situations have been addressed, in that the offender would have to designate a car he or she would use – and if caught not using it, would face severe penalties.

Also, the device would require the user to blow into it 5 minutes after starting the car; and at intervals of 30 minutes after the car’s been started.

Conventional wisdom would dictate anything making it more inconvenient for the convicted DWI offender to drive would get the message across that drinking and driving are risks not worth taking – but does the use of the interlocking device insure we’ll see a decrease in the number of DUI convictions?

Personally, I would think the risk of losing one’s license would be enough to scare the potential DUI offender from taking the chance to drink and drive - yet that hasn't seemed to work up until now.

Legislators are betting on the use of the interlocking device.

As a start, it’s not a bad idea to mandate it for all first time DUI offenders.