Drunk drivers slow to accept Ignition Interlock - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Drunk drivers slow to accept Ignition Interlock

An anti-DUI Ignition Interlock device An anti-DUI Ignition Interlock device
Abram Garcia Abram Garcia
Carol McNamee Carol McNamee
A camera mounted on the windshield snaps a picture each time the device is used A camera mounted on the windshield snaps a picture each time the device is used
If someone other than the driver breathes into the device, this fact is logged by the camera If someone other than the driver breathes into the device, this fact is logged by the camera

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Only about 10% of people arrested for drunk driving and eligible to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle are taking advantage of the opportunity. The vast majority are instead allowing their driver's licenses to be revoked for at least a year.

State drunk driving law changed January 1st, 2011. That is when people could opt for having an Ignition Interlock instead of having their license revoked. As of Wednesday, May 18th, 2011, 232 drivers state-wide had elected to have an Interlock installed. That is about 10% of eligible drivers according to Smart Start, the company with the contract to provide Ignition Interlock devices to people arrested for drunk driving.

Cost is one reason some shy away from the new device.

"The cost to have the device installed is $84 for the installation, then $89 per month," said Abram Garcia, Director of Operations for Smart Start.

Carol McNamee, who founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Hawaii, is optimistic more people will elect to use ignition interlocks once they become more familiar with them.

"I am very happy with the improved technology. I think it is excellent," McNamee told Hawaii News Now.

McNamee worries people who have had their driver's licenses taken away will continue to drive, and some of them will drink and drive.

"They are going to get behind the wheel without the interlock, even though their license has been revoked. We know that there are those people out there. And there are consequences for that. That is a crime," McNamee said.

Jail time is automatic for anyone caught driving after their license has been revoked because of a DUI arrest. That time behind bars can range from three to 30 days.

Ignition Interlock technology has improved significantly in recent years to prevent drivers from tampering with the device. For more on that, watch the corresponding video. And watch Hawaii News Now Friday at 10 p.m. as we test the device to see if it is as accurate as advertised.

 

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