Drunk Drivers Must Install Breathalyzer Ignition Locks

Six states institute laws requiring gadgets
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 2, 2009 1:38 PM CST
A photo provided by Smart Start shows the company's Smart Start 20/20 Ignition Interlock device, a handheld breath-alcohol monitoring device that is wired to a vehicle's ignition system.   (AP Photo/Smart Start, Inc.)
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(Newser) – Motorists convicted of driving drunk will have to install breath-monitoring gadgets in their cars under new laws taking effect in six states this week, the AP reports. The ignition interlocks prevent engines from starting until drivers blow into the alcohol detectors to prove they're sober. Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Nebraska, and Washington state yesterday began requiring the devices for all motorists convicted of first-time drunken driving. South Carolina requires them for repeat offenders.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been conducting a nationwide campaign to mandate ignition locks for anyone convicted of drunken driving, claiming they will save thousands of lives. "It's amazingly inconvenient," said an Illinois MADD official. "But the flip side of the inconvenience is death."