New drunken driving regulations and a stricter law went into effect on Jan. 1 2012, including mandatory ignition interlocks for all repeat drunk driving offenders.
Anyone caught driving while intoxicated for the second, third, fourth time etc, is required to have an Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (AIID) as a component to the sentence they are given.
The defendant has to pay for installation of the device and calibrations every 60 days. Simply said, the device is designed to prevent intoxicated people from driving.
The interlock device is installed under the dashboard and when power to the car is turned on, the device is turned on it requests a sample, the driver blows into the device and if the machine reads below .03 level, then the driver will be able to start the car and drive.
If the reading is above that level, the car will not start.
Once the driver who is allowed to drive is on the road, the machine will call for a random rolling re-test which will occur anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes after the initial start and continue on as long as the car is on — randomly taking samples throughout the trip. This ensures that the driver did not have someone else start the car initially to try and trick the machine.
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) levels go up as time passes.
Johanna Krebs, a Victims Services and Court Monitoring Specialist for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) said the AIID is used to help stop drunk driving when it is paired with other types of rehab.
Police are the first in line to see drivers that have the ignition interlock and know who does not have one.
This month representatives from MADD, whose Connecticut headquarters are 317 Foxon Road in , went to many police departments across the region to teach the patrol officers about the device and its function, and what to look for after pulling someone over for probable cause.
During the traffic stop the officer will know if the individual is supposed to have an AIID or not.
The various AIID models look different, so the officers learned how to determine whether machine was turned off during the drive or otherwise tampered with.
Krebs said the device allows people to get on with their lives: go to work, rehab, shopping etc, just not while they are intoxicated.
When the device is calibrated every 60 days, a thorough report with information regarding that vehicle: for example, how many starts were recorded, any violations, fails, the number of times the car is turned off, et al … is sent to the DMV, probation, attorneys, rehab faciities etc.
"It makes you accountable for your behavior," Krebs said.