Under current NJ law, repeat drunk drivers and those first timers who had a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or higher already have to have an ignition interlock placed on their cars. Think of it as a breathalyzer with a key. To start your car, and to keep driving your car, you have to blow into it. A BAC above a certain amount and it won't let your car start.

There had been a proposal to require ignition interlocks on all first time drunk driving offenders even if they were at a .08. The way that legislation was written the requirement would come with the trade-off of a much shorter license suspension. At present, licenses are typically suspended from between 3 months to 7 months and possibly even 1 year. This would have shortened that suspension time to only 10 days. The governor vetoed the measure because he didn't like that trade-off; didn't feel such a short suspension time was treating drunk driving seriously enough. He was absolutely correct in my opinion.

Now the legislature is back at it with a revamped bill that would again require ignition interlocks on the cars of all first time drunk drivers but the license suspension is a bit stiffer, moving it from 10 days to between 30 and 90 days. The maximum would be what the minimum is now.

I don't get it. While you can make the argument a license suspension is often flouted and doesn't physically stop someone from driving while an ignition interlock does, it stops them from legally driving. And not everyone ignores and violates a license suspension. To me it makes sense to keep the license suspensions where they are on top of the requirement for an ignition interlock. If we are claiming to crack down on the serious matter of drunk driving and part of that is less punishment and not more, I am not on board. Keep the lengthier suspensions and add in the ignition interlock. What's your opinion?

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