CT May Require Ignition Interlocks for 1st Offenders

IGNITION_INTERLOCKFirst offenders in the state of Connecticut may soon be required to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles if Senate Bill 465, which was unanimously passed by the Connecticut General Assembly is signed into law. A similar 1st offender interlock bill was proposed in Massachusetts and it is likely to be re-introduced. It would require those convicted of a first offense OUI to use the IID For 6 months in Massachusetts.

The Connecticut Interlock Bill, which is on the governor’s desk for signature, has received strong support by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The group recognizes that ignition interlock devices are more effective at combating DUI than license suspensions. MADD favors issuing ignition-interlock restricted hardship licenses. MADD’s goal is to have IIDs in every state for every convicted drunk driver.

Currently, a first offender in Connecticut can attend an alcohol education program and serve a license suspension ranging from 90 day to 1 year in length, without any requirement to use an ignition interlock device. Under the proposed legislation, IID requirements would vary based on the facts of the particular DUI case. Massachusetts drivers who are charged with DUI in Connecticut would be held to the same IID requirements as Connecticut drivers.

If the Governor signs the bill into law, it will go into effect in July of 2015. Last year, there were approximately 6,500 first offenders in Connecticut. This law would require any new first offenders to install ignition interlock devices as a condition of license reinstatement.

Currently, the State of Connecticut requires interlocks for anyone who is convicted of operating a motor vehicle under the influence. First offenders are able to avoid a “conviction,” and the interlock restriction, by attending an alcohol education program. Senate Bill 465 would require even these offenders who participate in the DWI diversion program to use the interlock devices, which have been proven to save lives.