Daniel Hynes

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Federal initiative for interlock devices

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In NH you will get the interlock device for aggravated DWI, subsequent offense, or if the DMV decides to order you to have one if convicted of DWI.

Federal Initiative For Ignition Interlock Devices Launches

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration is the driving force behind a new federal initiative to require ignition interlock devices for all DWI offenders – including first time offenders.

Per data released by the NHTSA, the majority of motorists who are responsible for fatal automobile collisions in the United States have, when tested, blood alcohol content levels that are more than twice the legal limit. Furthermore, approximately 70% of deaths that result from automobile accidents in the year 2010 involved impaired motorists with a BAC level of .15% or higher. Multiple federal studies have demonstrated that intoxicated drivers involved in fatal collisions are 4x more likely to have a prior DWI conviction on their record than sober drivers. According to the NHTSA, nearly 7,000 American lives could potentially be saved each year if motorists were barred from operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08% or higher.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, an ignition interlock device is a gadget installed onto the dashboard of one’s vehicle. Before the vehicle will switch itself on, the motorist must breathe into the device. If the driver has a BAC concentration above the limit established for the interlock device, then the automobile will refuse to start. New Hampshire’s IID limit is set at .02%. Furthermore, an ignition interlock device requires a motorist to blow into at random intervals while the car is in motion to ensure that the driver is not drinking as they drive.

An important official with the NHTSA, Michael Strickland, recently stated to the Washington Post that his organization believes that requiring IIDs for first time offenders is the best available solution. Each state would be free to determine at what level their IIDs would stop an automobile from operating. Similar to New Hampshire’s current laws, most states have set their IID limits at between .02% and .04%. It is the hope of the NHTSA that they will be able to force each state to create laws requiring IIDs for all DWI convictions by requiring each state to have them in order to receive federal funding for their highways.

New Hampshire’s current laws require a motorist convicted of an aggravated DWI, an underage motorist convicted of DWI, or those with prior DWI offenses to have an IID installed in their vehicle in order to have their driver’s license reinstated. Under NH state law, a DWI is classified as aggravated if the motorist has a high BAC content or if he or she is involved in an accident that results in serious injury to another party. Moreover, a motorist is responsible for paying for the cost of having the IID installed and tested in their vehicle, in addition to the monthly monitoring fee.

The NHTSA has stated that it is their hope that the new IID initiative will produce a two hold effect: First and foremost, they hope it will assist in deterring drivers, particularly male motorists between the ages of 21 and 35, from drinking and getting behind the wheel of their car. This demographic tends to be the most resistant to anti-drunk driving campaigns. Secondly, the NHTSA believes that this new penalty will lower the percentage of repeat offenders. Multiple studies have demonstrated that approximately 1/3rd of motorists who have been arrested for, and convicted of, a DWI are repeat offenders.

If the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is successful in their efforts, then the use of IIDs for first time DWI offenders will affect the future of all motorists facing NH DWI charges. When taking into account the federal push for more penalties for those facing DWI charges, it remains imperative to retain the services of the best New Hampshire DWI lawyer when facing these charges.


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Guest Friday, 31 March 2023