Some NC lawmakers want all DWI offenders to use an ignition interlock

According to Fox 8, lawmakers in North Carolina want to strengthen the ignition interlock requirements in the state. If a bill, known as Senate bill 619, is passed, any driver convicted of drunk driving would have to use an ignition interlock device. This would occur regardless of what the driver's blood alcohol concentration level was at the time of the arrest. This bill is currently under review and has yet to be voted on.

What is an ignition interlock device?

According to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization, an ignition interlock is a small device that is wired directly into the ignition of a car. When a driver wishes to operate his or her vehicle, he or she must blow into this device first. If the device detects that the driver has alcohol in his or her system, the car will not start. These devices allow convicted drunk drivers to still transport themselves to and from work as they wait for their driving privileges to be restored.

Current ignition interlock requirements

Currently in North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, only certain drivers are required to use an ignition interlock device following a DWI conviction. For instance, if a first-time DWI offender is arrested and his or her BAC level is 0.15 or higher, he or she will be required to use an ignition interlock device for a period of one year.

All drivers who are convicted of drinking and driving for either the second or the third time are required to use one of these devices. However, the length of time second or third-time DWI offenders are required to use an ignition interlock device for varies. For instance, a second-time DWI must use one of these devices for a period of three years. Comparatively, if a third-time DWI offender is able to have his or her driver's license restored, he or she will have to use an ignition interlock for a period of seven years.

First, second and third-time DWI offenders who are required to use an ignition interlock device are responsible for the costs associated with using the system. According to Fox 8, these devices can cost DWI offenders more than $1,000 a year to use.

Other penalties still apply

The requirement to use an ignition interlock device is just one of the many penalties alleged drunk drivers in North Carolina face after a DWI arrest. If you were recently arrested for drinking and driving, turn to an attorney to determine what steps you should take next.