If a bill currently being debated in the Massachusetts senate eventually becomes law, that state will join 25 others in giving people convicted for the first time of drunk driving the choice of having an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle(s). Currently, IIDs are used only for drivers who have multiple DUI convictions.
The primary goal of the proposed legislation is to make Massachusetts roads safer. However, this aspect of the bill could have advantages for those facing a first-time offense. If they choose to have an IID installed, they get to keep their driver's licenses instead of having them suspended for six months, which the current law requires. Drivers must pay for the IID. The daily cost of an IID starts at $2.50.
Why an Ignition Interlock Device Is Safer Than Suspending Someone's Driver's License
Advocates for the change, like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, point out that suspending someone's license does nothing to keep him or her off the road, sober or drunk. With an IID, however, a driver cannot start the car until he or she has blown into the device and it has detected no alcohol.
Representatives from MADD came to the Massachusetts state house to present powerful statistics on the success of IIDs. The group found that in the past decade, IIDs have stopped some 250,000 attempts by drivers to operate a vehicle with alcohol on their breath -- 37,000 in Massachusetts alone.
Massachusetts is already considered to have stringent drunk driving laws. However, under the proposed legislation, those convicted of a second drunk driving offense would be required to use an IID for four years. The length of time increases with the number of offenses.
It's Essential to Know Your Legal Options
For those facing a drunk driving conviction, it's essential to know your options. It's important to be able to move on with your life, even while dealing with the consequences of your actions. For most people, this means the ability to continue to drive to and from work.
While having an IID in your car may cause some embarrassment, for most people, it's better than losing your right to drive or facing the possibility of more legal issues if you do. Most of all, it can keep you and others safe.
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