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What is an ignition interlock device?

Last week we spoke of the perils of drunk driving following the Super Bowl. For those who did not give up on the game at halftime, they saw the greatest comeback in the history of the National Football League big game. While bars and parties across the area, including Carbon County, Lehigh Valley and the Poconos were filled with anxious, excited fans, when the game was over, inevitably some got behind the wheel after drinking. Getting caught with drunk driving is a serious charge, and can lead to numerous penalties, including having an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle.

Police authorities understand the severity and risks including the chances of a serious or fatal injury for not only drunk drivers, but innocent victims who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time while a drunk was on the road. Tragedies happen every year. Authorities often take proactive measures to prevent or dissuade drunk drivers.

Driving a car is considered a privilege, not a right. As such, states can regulate the privilege however they see fit. For drunk driving offenders, this may mean an ignition interlock device to prevent a car from starting unless a driver can prove, through an internal breathalyzer, that they are not attempting to drive while intoxicated.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there may be a correlation between ignition interlock devices and fewer alcohol related deaths on the road. Multiple reports, including data from the Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that states with mandatory interlocks show a decrease in fatal accidents over states that do not mandate the device.

An ignition interlock device is just one of the many hurdles, inconveniences and penalties that a drunk driving offender will face if convicted. He or she will also face stiff fines, a revocation of their driver's license, possible prison time, insurance premiums, and possibly a requirement to take substance abuse courses, among other penalties.

Source: findlaw.com, "DUI Penalties: Everything You Need to Know About Ignition Interlock Devices," By Christopher Coble, Jan. 23, 2017

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