New York DWI–Legislator Proposing Mandatory Ignition Interlocks

New York State Senator Charles Fuschillo Jr. is about to introduce legislation in which all drivers convicted of New York DWI would be required to install ignition interlocks in their cars. Presently, Westchester County and six other New York counties give judges the option to require ignition interlocks in cases of multiple DWI. New York began its ignition interlock program 20 years ago. Advocates such as MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) argue that unless the interlocks are mandatory, use is low. A spokesperson for MADD claims that ignition interlocks while those convicted of DWI are on probation reduces repeat offenses by an average of 64%. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, each day, 36 people die in car crashes with drunk drivers. In New York, there were 384 drunk driving deaths and more than 7,200 injuries in 2007.

An ignition interlock is approximately the size of a cell phone and is installed into the starting circuit of a car. The driver must blow into the interlock, and if he or she has been drinking, the car will not start. Interlocks can also be set up for “running retests” requiring a driver to provide breath tests at regular intervals. This way, if a sober person started the car, and the driver fails the retest, the horn will sound and the car’s lights will flash, alerting police officers in the vicinity.

It is unclear if the legislation Mr. Fuschillo is promoting has the votes to be instituted, as he is a Republican, now a minority party in the state Senate for the first time in many decades.

If you or a loved one is charged with New York drunk driving, any criminal offense or a New York traffic violation, contact The Law Office Of Mark A. Siesel online or at (914) 428-7386 for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.