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Vehicle breathalyzers mandatory for DUIs

MEDIA RELEASE

Rep. Sharon Har has one more thing to celebrate this New Year. A bill she introduced requiring drivers convicted of drinking under the influence of alcohol to have a breathalyzer installed in their vehicles will become law Saturday, Jan. 1.

Har was inspired to introduce the legislation after being injured in a 2007 head-on collision in which a multiple-conviction drunken driver smashed into her car.

“After several years of hard work, I am so pleased that the ignition interlock program will finally be law in our state,” Har said. “As a victim of a repeat drunk driver, I will feel safer knowing that these devices will now be used in Hawaii, and I also hope their existence serves as an important reminder to not drive while intoxicated in the first place. By deterring drivers from getting behind the wheel while drunk, ignition interlock devices are certain to save lives on our state’s roads.”

The breathalyzer, known widely as ignition interlock, forces a driver to blow into it to start the vehicle. The system will not allow the car to start if the the alcohol concentration on the breath is .02 or higher.

To deter tampering with the device, a camera mounted on the windshield will record who is blowing into the device. In addition, frequent retests – monitored by vendors and reported to the state – are administered throughout the duration of the drive.

What you should know about the new law:

* Taxpayers will not be paying for bill; DUI offenders will have to pay $84 for installation and a monthly $89 leasing fee.

* First-time DUI offenders will have their license revoked for a year but may continue to drive with an interlock device.

* Two-time DUI offenders will have their license revoked for 18 months but may continue to drive with an interlock device.

* Three-time DUI offenders will have their license revoked for two years but may continue to drive with an interlock device.

* Offenders arrested for DUI more than three times will have their license revoked for five to 10 years and will no longer be able to drive.

* It will be a crime to refuse a breath or blood alcohol test, offenders will be charged with a petty misdemeanor instead of an administrative violation.

* Drivers who refuse to a submit to alcohol testing will have their license revoked for a year but may drive with an interlock device.

— Find out more:
hawaiihouseblog.blogspot.com/

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