This week, Tennessee legislators voted to pass legislation that would make Tennessee the 18th state in the country to require interlock devices for first time violations of DWI laws. reports that House Bill 353 passed both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate, and has been sent to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam for signing into law. The legislation would change Tennessee DWI laws, which now mandate interlock devices only in cases of repeat offenders, or for first time offenders registering a blood alcohol content (BAC) of over 0.15. The new law would require the installation of interlock devices for first time offenders with BACs as low as 0.08.

According to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, an interlocking device is installed on a vehicle’s transmission, and contains a recording device that captures the number of times the driver attempted to start the transmission or did start the transmission; the driver’s BAC at the time he or she attempted to start the vehicle; and the length of time that the vehicle was driven. Interlocking devices generally require the driver of the vehicle to blow into them before the vehicle will start. The vehicle will not start if the breath provided contains a set amount of alcohol content, similar to a breathalyzer test. Generally, interlocking devices also require drivers to blow into them at random times during the operation of the vehicle. A “bad” blow will not cause the engine of the vehicle to shut off immediately, but the interlocking device will store the sample data and cause an alarm to go off until the engine is turned off.

New York’s own interlock device law has been in effect since summer of 2010. An article from the New York Times, written at that time, reported that New York’s interlocking device law was passed after an 11-year-old girl died from being thrown from a vehicle driven by a drunk driver. The law, referred to as “Leandra’s Law” after the victim of the accident, also amended New York’s DWI laws to enhance driving drunk with a child under the age of 16 to a felony. The law is codified under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 1193(b) and 1193 (1-a)(c). Under New York’s law, ignition interlocking devices are mandatory for all DWI offenses, both misdemeanors and felonies.

The New York Times went on to report that interlocking devices have been found to reduce drunk driving recidivism in states like New Mexico. In that state, after the introduction of interlocking devices, drunk driving recidivism dropped by 37% over a six year period, from 2002 to 2008.

Interlocking devices are mandatory in New York State, even for first time DWI offenders. If you have been charged with violating DWI laws, the first step in defending against a DWI conviction is to call an experienced attorney. An experienced attorney can help you understand the charges against you, and may represent you in court. Call an experienced attorney at Nave DWI Defense Attorneys today for a confidential consultation at 1-866-792-7800.

Disclaimer: The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Corporate offices for Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are located at 432 N. Franklin Street, Suite 80, Syracuse, NY 13204; Telephone No.: 1-866-792-7800. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.