Connecticut Intensifies Efforts to Curtail Drunk Driving

Connecticut, 14 other states and part of California require the ignition interlock devices for first-time DUI convictions.  Ignition interlocks gauge blood-alcohol content (BAC) after a person blows into a tube for several seconds. If the BAC surpasses a threshold, the car engine will not start. Interlocks have reduced drunken driving recidivism by a median of 67 percent, according to a 2011 news release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2009 that interlocks "reduce recidivism among both first-time and repeat DWI offenders, with reductions in subsequent DWI arrests ranging from 50 to 90 percent while the interlock is installed on the vehicle."  If mandatory use was more widespread, up to 750 lives could be saved each year, according to a study by the NHTSA, reported in the Hartford Courant  and re-posted on other news sites.  In an effort to further reduce drop drunken driving fatalities, organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and MADD are pushing for more widespread use of ignition interlocks.

Connecticut law, revised earlier this year, requires that those with one conviction must have the device installed on any cars they plan to drive. The interlock must stay on the car for one year after the driver completes a 45-day license suspension.  After a second conviction, the driver is allowed on the road after another 45-day suspension, but the ignition lock must remain on the car for three years.