Advanced Ignition Interlock Technology Could Be Required on All Vehicles Regardless of Whether You are Convicted of DWI or DUI
In Minnesota, it is illegal to drive while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol. A DUI or DWI conviction can potentially result in large fines, significant jail time, and suspension of driving privileges. However, under Minnesota law, depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, your driving privileges may be reinstated with the installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. With an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, your vehicle will only start if after blowing into the device, you are determined not to have consumed alcohol.
While in most cases one usually associates ignition interlock devices with a DWI or DUI conviction, United States Representative Kathleen Rice from New York believes that in the next ten years, all motor vehicles should be equipped with advanced ignition interlock technology, whether or not one has been convicted of driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated. Just this past New Year’s Eve, Representative Rice introduced a bill, also known as the End of Drunk Driving Act, requiring that in the next ten years, all new motor vehicles sold in the United States be equipped with advanced ignition interlock technology to prevent motor vehicles from starting if a driver’s blood alcohol concentration is at or more than the legal limit.
The End of Drunk Driving Act also provides funding for developing more advanced ignition interlock technology. An example of an advanced technology interlock device includes a device where instead of blowing into a tube, sensors and infrared lights are able to take samples of the air in the vehicle and detect whether you have alcohol in your system. Other devices can detect your blood alcohol content by testing your skin with a simple push of a button.
Representative Rice introduced the bill hoping to reduce the incidence of drunk driving-related injuries and deaths. It has been estimated that if advanced ignition interlock technology was installed in all new motor vehicles, about eighty-five percent of all impaired driving-related fatalities could be prevented over fifteen years. This means that more than 59,000 lives could be saved by mandating ignition interlock devices on all new motor vehicles.
Mandatory ignition interlock technology could also potentially prevent 1.25 million nonfatal drunk driving-related injuries over the same fifteen-year period, meaning these injuries could be reduced by eighty-four to eighty-nine percent. Without these drunk driving-related injuries and deaths, it is possible that about $343 billion could be saved over fifteen years.
Representative Rice’s bill may or may not become law, mandatory ignition interlock technology would go a long way toward preventing a significant number of people from driving drunk. But regardless, Minnesota will continue to provide ignition interlock devices to those who have already been convicted of a DWI or DUI offense.
If you have been convicted of driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated in Minnesota, and you find yourself facing the possibility of having to take part in the Minnesota Ignition Interlock Program, or you are facing a lengthy license suspension, it is important that you consult with our seasoned DUI defense team.