In June 2017, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) praised Las Vegas’ political leaders for passing Senate Bill 259, which required ignition interlocks, or a car breathalyzer, in a vehicle after a drunk driving offense.
This new law is set to go into effect by October 2018, but just how effective are the car breathalyzer? And is the new law different from what was already in place?
Car breathalyzers are typically installed in the glove compartment on the passenger’s side of the vehicle. The device is hard-wired into the ignition system so that when the driver is ready to go somewhere, they must pass a test before the engine will start. Usually, the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit on these tests is low.
The car breathalyzer contains a computer chip then records your BAC during each breath test. Some devices will automatically transmit that information to necessary parties. If the driver fails the test, a warning or alarm will sound. Sometimes, the car horn will honk or the car lights will flash on and off until the ignition turns itself off.
Currently, in Las Vegas, car breathalyzers are required for DUI offenders who are caught with a BAC of 0.18 or greater. These offenders will have the device installed for at least a year with the option to have it extended depending on performance. In some cases, a Las Vegas judge may assign a car breathalyzer to a first time offender over the limit – between 0.08 and 0.17 BAC.
Senate Bill 259 will change all of that. After October 1, 2018, all first-time DUI offenders with a BAC of 0.08 and above will receive a car breathalyzer for at least six months. The judge may, of course, make exceptions, but many more devices will be installed after this new law goes into effect.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that ignition interlocks stop repeat DUI offenses by 67 percent when compared with just suspending licenses alone.
If you’ve been accused of driving under the influence and need legal representation, please give Brian J. Smith – a Las Vegas DUI attorney – a call at 702-380-8248.