NJ Drunk Driving Law Calls For Ignition Locks For All Offenders

Steve Burns
December 02, 2019 - 12:51 pm
Ignition Interlock System

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TRENTON (WCBS 880) — A new law in New Jersey means convicted drunk drivers can get their licenses back sooner, but there’s a catch.

Under the old system, somebody convicted of driving while intoxicated would have their license taken away, but it often would not stop them from getting behind the wheel again.

“Fifty to 75% of those convicted drunk drivers started to operate their motor vehicles even though they didn’t have a driver’s license,” said attorney Steven Benvenisti, a New Jersey board member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Benvenisti fought hard for a new law, which expands the use of ignition interlock devices for those convicted of drunk driving offenses and of refusing breath tests.

“Every single person who's convicted of drunk driving will be required to utilize ignition interlock device in their car,” Benvenisti said.

The device requires a driver to blow into it, like a breathalyzer test, and will disable the vehicle if alcohol is detected. Unlike the old law, first time offenders can get their licenses back immediately, so long as the device is installed.

“It's been working throughout the country,” Benvenisti said. “The data is clear.”

He says other states with this law have seen drunk driving deaths drop up to 50%.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed the measure into law in August, saying “Expanding the use of ignition interlock devices is just common sense. We must deter drunk driving without negatively impacting individuals’ ability to take care of themselves or their families.”