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Advocates Call for Increased Use of Ignition Interlock Devices

Since Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other safe-driving advocates have begun escalating campaigns against drunk driving, the number of states mandating the installation of Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) for all offenders has increased to 25 in recent years.

But not many states require IIDs, a device that prevents drivers under the influence from operating their vehicles by requiring them to blow into a blood alcohol content analysis tube before the engine can start, for first-time offenders.

The quest to get bills requiring IIDs for all convicted DUI offenders passed is particularly heated in Pennsylvania, where advocates are citing cases of dangerous repeat offenses. At least two offenders are currently facing their ninth and tenth DUI convictions, acquired just in the years since 2004, when the state lowered its blood alcohol content (BAC) limit from .10 percent to .08 percent.

Currently, Pennsylvania only requires IIDs for second-time or multiple-time offenders. The IID has to be installed on the vehicle an offender owns, operates or leases for a full year, after which time the offender can apply for an unrestricted driver’s license.

In addition to requiring a preliminary breath test before the vehicle can start, the devices also request random retests during the operation of the vehicle. Though the device won’t immediately turn off the engine if a retest shows a BAC over the preprogrammed level, it will signal the driver to stop by flashing the headlights and sounding the horn repeatedly and will not allow the vehicle to restart without another breath test. If retests are refused, the IID will “lockout” the vehicle, requiring it to be towed for service.

All of the breath sample data from preliminary and in-motion tests get sent to the court, DMV or probation department that ordered the IID installation for review. If the data shows violations, such as repeated attempts to start the vehicle with an over-the-limit BAC or retest failures, your IID requirements will be extended, depending on the amount and severity of the violations — even if the results reflect the BAC of another driver. There are also penalties for not equipping a vehicle with an IID, tampering with or removing an IID or failing to obtain maintenance from the IID Center.

To learn more about the penalties for IID misuse, meet with a knowledgeable DUI attorney at the law office of David R. Eshelman in Reading, PA.

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