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How an ignition interlock device combats drunk driving

In the state of New Jersey, a driver with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher is considered intoxicated. If a driver is convicted of drunk driving, he or she may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in his or her car, especially if the driver is a repeat offender. Many wonder how these devices work. Can someone else simply blow in the meter to start the car for an impaired driver? Here are some facts about these tools, what they are, how they work and why bypassing one isn't so easy.

The concept behind an ignition interlock device is that it acts like a personal breathalyzer that is installed in a car that prevents the car from starting without the driver proving he or she isn't intoxicated. The tool is hard-wired into the vehicle's ignition system. Before the car will start the driver must blow into the sensor, which will measure the driver's breath alcohol content. If the driver's alcohol content is low enough the car will start, but if it is above a preset limit the car will not start. The allowable breath alcohol content limit is not necessarily the same as the state's blood alcohol concentration limit of .08: it may be much lower.

Some intoxicated drivers who want to bypass their ignition interlock device may have someone else who is sober blow into the sensor for them. For this reason, some devices require random testing while the vehicle is being driven. When one of these random tests is prompted, the driver must comply or an alarm will go off within the vehicle. These rolling tests also prevent the driver from starting the trip sober to start vehicle and drinking once it is underway.

The consequences of a drunk driving conviction in New Jersey can be severe, and the required installation of an ignition interlock device is just one of the possible punishments. There may also be fines, loss of driving privileges and even jail time. With so much on the line, someone arrested for drunk driving should seek the help of an experienced defense attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can help a driver defend against some of the significant consequences he or she could face that can have a lasting impact on his or her life.

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