Interlock Device Sees Sweeping Expansion Across New Jersey

Industry: Automotive

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signs new ignition interlock device bill to expand interlock device requirement for first-time DUI offenders.

New Jersey (PRUnderground) October 3rd, 2019

Stricter interlock device laws passed in New Jersey means first-time DUI offenders will be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle in order to keep their driving privileges. 

The new law, which was approved in August of 2019, is aimed at curbing the number of DUI-related offenses. Studies show that requiring offenders to install an interlock device on their vehicle after being caught driving under the influence significantly reduces the possibility that the offender continues driving under the influence.

The law, which is known as S824 revises penalties for drunk driving and ignition interlock device violations. It also requires the installation of an ignition interlock device on a person’s vehicle who refuses a breath test when stopped for suspicion of drunk driving.

“Expanding the use of ignition interlock devices is just common sense,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “We must deter drunk driving without negatively impacting individuals’ ability to take care of themselves or their families. License suspensions are an imperfect tool for accomplishing both aims, as they do not stop drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel and they can prevent ex-offenders from supporting their livelihoods. In contrast, ignition interlock devices prevent drunk driving while allowing ex-offenders to support themselves and their families.”

The new bill also requires the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to issue a summary report containing information on drunk driving offenders that are required to install an ignition interlock device, every six months.

Drunk Driving Statistics in New Jersey

DUI and DWI related offenses in the United States are a worrisome problem that take the lives of thousands of people each year. Many organizations advocate for tougher drunk driving laws.

And it’s not without cause. The New Jersey State Police, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) regularly publish statistics on DUI/DWI in New Jersey.

  • Driving under the influence was listed as a contributing factor in 118 out of 522 fatal car crashes (22 percent) in New Jersey in 2015.

  • Nearly 80 percent of drunk drivers killed in accidents tested positive for a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher.

  • Drunk driving fatalities cost New Jersey taxpayers an estimated $992 million every year.

  • According to a CDC study, 1.5 percent of New Jersey drivers report driving after having too much to drink at least once within the past 30 days. This is slightly lower than the national average of 1.9 percent.

With more than 20% of fatal auto accidents being contributed to driving under the influence and an estimated annual cost of nearly $1 billion dollars, it’s easy to understand why New Jersey state legislators were able to move forward with a bipartisan effort to enact stricter DUI laws.

What Is An Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device, or IID, is a small device that connects into the ignition of a DUI offender’s vehicle that measures a user’s breath alcohol concentration (BrAC). An interlock device prevents a vehicle’s engine from starting until the user has provided a breath sample that is below the legal limit set by New Jersey. If the driver’s breath sample is above the state limit, the vehicle will not start. 

How Does An Interlock Device Work?

Drivers with an IID must periodically provide breath samples throughout each trip to verify the absence of alcohol. Additionally, ignition interlock devices track the user’s activity and provide a record of any violations to your state’s monitoring department.

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