The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is encouraging all states throughout the country to adopt the use of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) for individuals convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). IIDs are essentially breathalyzers that drivers must blow into in order to start their vehicles. If the device detects alcohol, the vehicle will not start.
The use of IIDs has been widely supported. In many states, IIDs are often required in cases involving multiple DUIs or more serious DUI offenses. Many do not require the device for first-time offenders. If several Georgia lawmakers have their way, however, all individuals convicted of DUI will be required to install a breathalyzer on their vehicles.
State legislators have authored bills to push for mandatory installation of ignition interlock devices in all DUI cases and have received strong support from the NHTSA and organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). This is because IIDs have been found to reduce recidivism (the term used to describe convicted offenders' re-arrests) by as much as 65%. It has also proven successful in reducing preventable alcohol-related accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
Although there seem to be many benefits behind mandating the installation of IIDs, they do come at the expense of convicted individuals. IIDs can be expensive, and will require individuals to pay for installation fees, monthly calibration fees, and removal fees. At times when large court fines and other expenses associated with a DUI can stretch finances thin, these added costs can become tremendous burdens. If IIDs are made mandatory in Georgia, they will make already harsh penalties even more severe.
While time will tell if IID legislation passes, anyone who stands accused of DUI in Georgia today should be aware of the numerous consequences and penalties they face. If you or your loved one is charged with DUI, contact an Atlanta DUI lawyer from the Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub.