Ignition Interlock becomes law on January 1, 2011

December 27, 2010, 2:48 PM HST · Updated December 27, 2:49 PM
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By Wendy Osher

The state implements a new ignition interlock program on January 1, 2011. The interlock device specifically detects driver impairment and prevents vehicle operation by drivers under the influence.

Image courtesy Smart Start Inc.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, ignition interlock systems can reduce the DUI re-offense rate by an estimated 50 to 90 percent in the year following an initial DUI arrest.  The same study shows that alcohol-related fatalities are reduced by 7 percent.

A preliminary bill was passed in 2008 that required the establishment of a task force.  Based on findings of the group, more modifications were made in 2009, and a final revised bill was signed into law in June.  The latest version of the bill eliminates probation for second and third time offenders, and instead requires them to show “proof of compliance”.

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Under the law, anyone arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant (OVUII) will be required to install an in-car breathalyzer in their vehicle. The ignition interlock device is a breath analyzer that is connected to the car’s ignition.  Vehicles with interlock systems will not start if any measurable amount of alcohol is detected on the breath sample.  There are also features on most devices that prevent tampering or misuse of the technology.

A public information campaign on the new law kicks off tomorrow that includes four weeks of radio announcements.

(Supporting information courtesy State of Hawaii)

Image courtesy Smart Start Inc.

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