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Ignition interlock devices: Preventing drunken accidents

If you've been stopped for driving under the influence and are convicted, one of the things you may have to have in your vehicle is an ignition interlock device (IID). It's important to understand what an IID is and what its purpose is before it is installed.

Ignition interlock devices are installed after a person fails a breathalyzer test and is convicted of driving while intoxicated. Ignition interlock devices work by testing a person's breath for signs of alcohol each time he or she enters the vehicle. If the result is over the legal limit, the device does not allow the vehicle to start.

Why do courts now order the use of IIDs?

Ignition interlock devices are used because they are effective. The programming doesn't allow someone to drive while intoxicated, so that individual can't cause an accident that hurts him or herself or others. Studies following the use of IIDs have also shown that 90 percent of people who graduate from using the device successfully don't get a second DUI offense. In comparison, those who do not use IIDs reoffend at around a 50 percent rate.

These devices are created in independent laboratories and meet the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) strict standards. The machine is reliable, but if it does break or lock a driver out, it will need to be serviced by an authorized facility. The same is true if you fail a breath test multiple times; the system will shut down and the device will need to be serviced.

If you're facing a DUI charge, you can fight it to avoid having to install an IID. Mistakes are made, and if you can exploit one, it's possible to walk away with no charge or conviction.

Source: Moheb Legal Defense PLLC, "You Have Rights When Charged With A DUI," accessed Sep. 08, 2017

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