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New technology eyed to reduce repeat DUI offenses

Drivers in Pennsylvania who receive convictions for driving under the influence typically face a slew of penalties. These can include fines, jail time, the suspension of driving privileges, the installation of an ignition interlock device and more. Whether or not a person has a prior DUI offense on his or her record can affect the specific consequences in a given situation.

The primary purpose of the ignition interlock device, also referred to as the IID, is to prevent any repeat offenses. These devices have been utilized for many years but now the National Highway Transportation Safety Association is promoting the adoption of new technological advances that may make IIDs even simpler to use and less invasive to drivers.

How are IIDs installed and used?

Anyone in the state of Pennsylvania who is facing a second DUI conviction or more may well be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in a vehicle that he or she drives. This is essentially a Breathalyzer that requires you to take a breath test each time you enter the vehicle.

The main portion of the unit is mounted to the dashboard of the vehicle. It is into this part that you breathe. The machine registers your blood alcohol content and sends the results to a microchip that controls the ignition.

If your BAC is below a pre-programmed safe level, you will be allowed to start and drive the automobile. If, however, your BAC is above the predefined level, your vehicle’s ignition will be locked until you later are able to successfully pass the breath test.

Once on the road

Simply because a driver has passed an initial BAC and been allowed to start a vehicle does not mean that he or she can drink while driving and essentially get away with it. The IID system automatically signals for follow-up breath tests to be taken at random times during each driving journey. These can be taken while the car is in motion, making it simple to do at any point.

If one of these subsequent tests is failed, the IID cannot shut down the engine but it will initiate a series of alerts for you to stop the vehicle. This includes the flashing of lights and honking of the horn, all of which will continue until the ignition has been turned off and the vehicle is fully stopped.

Advances in IID technology

New forms of ignition interlock devices are able to be operated more easily. Drivers simply put their hands on the wheel and push one button. The units are more streamlined and feature a less invasive design.

The NHTSA is urging for the adoption of these new units partially in response to data that showed an increase in highway deaths nationwide for 2012, the first time such an increase has been noted since 2005.

A DUI defense is your right

Anyone who has been arrested and charged with drunk driving should make sure to contact an experienced attorney. The serious nature of the penalties can impact people for many years and the right help is important.