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Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, June 08, 2011
The Massachusetts State Senate Transportation Committee recently held a public hearing concerning Senate Bill 1746, “An Act Relative to Ignition Interlock Devices,” sponsored by Senator Hedlund and co-sponsored by 7 legislators. The bill is aimed at requiring the use of ignition interlock devices (“IIDs”)for first time DUI offenders. Currently, only second or subsequent offenders seeking hardship driving privileges are required to use ignition interlocks. These IIDs are similar to breathalyzers, installed to a motor vehicle’s dashboard. Before the vehicle’s motor can be started, the driver first must breathe into the device and if the breath-alcohol concentration analyzed result is greater than the programmed blood alcohol concentration—usually 0.02% or 0.04%, the device prevents the engine from being started. At random times after the engine has been started, the IID will require another breath sample. The purpose of this is to prevent a friend from breathing into the device. If the breath sample isn’t provided, or the sample exceeds the ignition interlock’s preset blood alcohol level, the device will log the event, warn the driver and then start up an alarm (e.g., lights flashing, horn honking, etc.) until the ignition is turned off, or a clean breath sample has been provided. Twenty seven states now require the use of ignition interlocks for first time offenders, and once the Transportation Committee’s executive session recommends the bill as favorable, Senate Bill 1746 will proceed to the Senate floor.

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