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Proposed Law Seeks to Make Ignition Interlock Devices Mandatory in New Vehicles in Illinois and Elsewhere

In some instances, when a person is convicted of a DUI offense, the person is required to install an ignition interlock device in his or her vehicle. Essentially, the device prevents people from driving while intoxicated by requiring them to submit to a breath test prior to driving. While ignition interlock devices are not widely employed, recent federal legislation seeks to make them mandatory in all new vehicles, regardless of whether the driver has ever been convicted of a DUI offense. Proponents of the bill fail to consider the potentially detrimental repercussions of requiring all drivers to install ignition interlock devices in their cars, however, including the harm that can be caused by inaccurate readings. If you are charged with an Illinois DUI offense following a breathalyzer test, it is prudent to speak with a trusted DUI defense attorney to discuss your potential defenses.

The Ride Act

The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019, commonly referred to as the Ride Act seeks to make it mandatory for all new cars to come with alcohol detection systems. Specifically, the law would require any car manufactured in 2024 and beyond to have a factory-installed alcohol detection device. Prior to installation, however, the National Highway Safety Administration would work with manufacturers to develop safe and effective technology. Additionally, the bill provides for funding for researching and developing the technology, which will be tested on vehicles prior to becoming a requirement for consumers.

Although the precise technology proposed by the Ride Act is unclear, it is likely to be similar to the ignition interlock devices installed in cars of people convicted of certain DUI crimes. Those devices require a driver to submit to a breathalyzer test prior to starting the vehicle, and at random intervals when the driver is operating the vehicle, which are referred to as rolling tests. If any of the tests indicate the driver is over the legal limit, the car will cease to operate.

Detriments of Mandatory Ignition Interlock Devices

Those in opposition of the Ride Act argue that breathalyzers often produce false readings, for example, if a person has recently eaten gum or fruit. A false reading can leave drivers who are well within the legal limits, stranded and unable to drive. There also seems to be little consideration for whether the devices would impinge on the rights of those who have not been convicted of any DUI crime. Additionally, while new cars would have the devices, older cars would not, which would likely lessen the efficacy of the technology. Currently, many people convicted of DUI crimes in Illinois are required to install an ignition interlock device in their car to have their driving privileges restored. It is not clear, though, how making such devices a universal requirement will affect the process of penalizing people convicted of DUI crimes.

Speak with a Capable DUI Attorney Regarding your Charges

If you are faced with a DUI charge, and you submitted to a breath test, you should speak with a capable DUI attorney regarding what defenses you may be able to assert to protect your rights. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, P.C., is adept at handling DUI cases, and he will work diligently to help you obtain a favorable result. You can reach Mr. Harvatin at 217.525.0520 or through the form online to set up a confidential and free consultation.

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