A new law was recently passed in Connecticut that is going to change the way that the state approaches those who are convicted for driving while under the influence of alcohol, with an overall goal of reducing accidents. Under this law, those offenders are going to have to use ignition interlock devices on their vehicles. The installation of such devices for first offenders is going to start sometime in the middle of 2015.

The governor was on hand for a ceremony revolving around this new law, and he issued a statement saying that the goal is to reduce accidents that lead to injury and death. He said that irresponsible decisions made by drivers can often lead to car accidents, not simply to DUI charges.

A spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk Driving indicated that this was a good way to fight back against accidents that are related to alcohol because research has shown a 67 percent drop in repeat DUI offenses when these systems are used.

The device itself has to be connected to the ignition system on the car. Overall, it is not much different in size from the common mobile phone. There is a portal on the device where a driver can blow when he or she gets into the car. The device then checks that sample to see if there is alcohol in the person’s system, similar to how a Breathalyzer works.

If no alcohol is detected, the car can start up as it normally would. However, if the device does detect that the person has been drinking, it makes it impossible for them to start and use their vehicle.

While this law may help cut back on accidents spurred by repeat offenders, it will not change the amount caused by first-time offenders who do not yet have the system in place. MADD also indicated that many drunk drivers have committed the offense up to 80 times before finally being caught, meaning the risk is still high. Anyone involved in such an accident must know what rights they have to compensation for medical expenses and other losses.

Source: Shelton Herald, “NEW LAW: First-time DUI offenders must have ignition interlock devices on vehicles” Shelton Herald, Aug. 11, 2014