FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the ignition interlock bill into law Monday morning in Fairfield, surrounded by advocates and state representatives who sponsored the bill to strengthen drunken driving rules.
“This ignition interlock requirement is one of several more stringent penalties and measures we are implementing to combat and reduce the kinds of irresponsible behaviors like impaired, distracted and reckless driving , that inevitably lead to crashes, injuries and death on our roads and highways,” Malloy said.
The bill passed through the General Assembly during the legislative session and imposes penalties when a person is either found to have violated drunken driving laws or has been convicted of DUI.
Specifically, the law will:
- Reduce the license suspension period for all administrative per se violations to 45 days, but impose ignition interlock requirements after the suspension ends;
- Eliminate the 90-day waiting period for a special operator's permit for a first administrative per se violation for refusing to submit to a blood alcohol content (BAC) test;
- Change the required license suspension period for someone who fails to use an IID as required;
- Allows the DMV commissioner to impose ID requirements on Connecticut residents following an out-of-state DUI conviction that occurs within 10 years of a previous DUI conviction in Connecticut or another state; and
- Decrease, in some cases, the suspension period for drivers under age 21 who are convicted of DUI for the second time.
“Driving is a privilege in the state of Connecticut. And with that privilege we ask that you drive safely,” said Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara. Since January, MacNamara said, Fairfield has charged 78 people with driving under the influence, essentially one every two and a half days.
The interlock will go a long way to prevent people from becoming a repeat offender, MacNamara said.
The ignition interlock is a about the size of a cellphone and is wired into the ignition system of a vehicle. A convicted drunken driver must blow into the device in order to start their vehicle. If they have a detectable amount of alcohol in their system, the car won’t start.
"I am thrilled that the governor is here signing this bill and i want to thank him and all the legislators who have worked so tirelessly in getting this through," said Colleen Sheehy, president of the state chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. "It's one of our goals to secure the future so we no longer have drunk driving on the road."
The state won’t be paying for the devices, Malloy said, so there is no cost to the taxpayers. “This is a cost to the person who wants to maintain their driving rights.”
The devices cost about $100 to install in one of the six vendors across the state. Drivers must recalibrate the device once a month for $75 each time.