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DV Pilot police & fire

Should N.J. have ignition locks for DWI convicts?

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

Any New Yorkers convicted of drunk driving must install a device in their cars that requires them to be sober before the vehicle will start, beginning Aug. 15. Which raises the question: Should New Jersey be next?


Convicted motorists must have the “ignition interlock Breathalyzer” installed at their own expense and bring in the machine for analysis monthly to determine whether he or she topped blood-alcohol limits.

It’s not only required for starting the car. The drivers must also use it at regular intervals to prove they aren’t drunk behind the wheel.

Even though a blood alcohol reading of .08 percent gets you busted for drunk driving, the devices’ limit is .025 — which, in many instances, can equal one beer.

New York is becoming the 10th state to use the devices, as program is part of “Leandra’s Law,” adopted after 11-year-old Leandra Rosado was thrown from a car driven by a drunk driver and killed last October.

Jerry DeMarco Publisher/Editor


Several of the other states who have the program report compliance rates well over 90 percent.

The devices cost up to $100 to install, with a monthly fee from $70-$100, depending on the model and installer. However, a judge could waive the cost for those whose money is tight.

The N.Y. Department of Probation has OK‘d seven manufacturers. However, they must sub-contract enough electronics and security system outfits so that no driver has to go more than 50 miles for installation or the monthly compliance checkup.

Given the monitoring costs, New York has asked the federal government to pony up $3 million through a special grant.

Should New Jersey follow suit?

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