Who Needs to Use IIDs in New Jersey?

People convicted of impaired driving offenses may be required to install and use ignition interlock devices.

Among the various penalties that drivers can face after an impaired driving conviction is the required use of an ignition interlock device, also referred to as an IID. An ignition interlock device can override a vehicle's ignition, locking it or unlocking it based upon breath test data.

It is intended to prevent people convicted of drunk driving offenses from operating vehicles while impaired again. A driver must successfully pass a breath test in order for the vehicle's ignition to be unlocked, allowing the vehicle to be started. Any failed test will result in the ignition remaining locked.

Current New Jersey laws

According to the State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, even drivers convicted of first-time DUI charges can be required to install and use an IID. This can happen if a driver's blood alcohol content was over 0.09 percent at the time of arrest. In these cases, the IID must be used not only during any period of driver's license suspension but also for up to 12 months after full license reinstatement.

A driver who has been arrested for and convicted of multiple DWI offenses can be ordered to use an ignition interlock device for a period of 12 to 36 months after a driver's license has been reinstated.

The New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety notes that anyone believed to have tampered with an ignition interlock device could face serious charges. This could involve an attempt to disarm the IID system or having another person take the actual breath test on the part of the driver required to do so.

Potential changes to IID technology

The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety is a group comprised of multiple other organizations. Its component groups include the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. One of the missions of DADSS is to conduct research to further improve IID technology. Mashable.com indicates that Congress may authorize up to $48 million to DADSS for this purpose.

One of the ignition interlock device systems being tested captures intoxication data by touch rather than by breath. In this system, special sensors would be installed into a vehicle's steering wheel or even a remote key starter. As with traditional IID units, any failed test would prevent a driver from starting the vehicle. The test would be required every single time a driver wants to start the vehicle.

Another change that drivers may see someday is the integration of IID functionality already built into newly manufactured vehicles. BoldRide.com reported that an effort is underway in Congress to promote this.

Important information for arrested drivers

The use of an IID is just one of a myriad of consequences that can result from a drunk driving conviction. Anyone who has been arrested on such charges should contact a lawyer promptly.