The state of New York has a struck another blow in its war on drunk driving. Recently a new law was passed that requires anyone convicted of a DWI to have a breathalyzer-like device installed in their vehicle, requiring them to pass a sobriety test in order to start their car’s engine. This law is the 2nd part of the law named after Leandra Rosado and dubbed Leandra’s Law to be put in place. The first part of Leandra’s Law was enacted in December 2009. It made the act of driving over the legal limit a felony in the state of New York when a child younger than 15 was riding in the offender’s vehicle.
“This is another measure to stop an epidemic in New York State – to stop drunk driving,” said state Sen. Charles Fuschillo (R-L.I.), one of the law’s sponsors. “It takes away judicial discretion, and it requires a mandatory interlock.” It has been reported that 248 arrests have been made in the first 6 months since part one of Leandra’s Law took effect, and it is safe to assume that many more will follow with the law intensifying.
Nine other states have laws on the books requiring breathalyzer devices to be installed to start the cars of DWI offenders. New York’s implementation of the law does differ from the other states however. In New York, it does not matter whether the person was convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony DWI. The device is required after the first conviction, an important difference a Manhattan accident attorney notes. The severity of the DWI does come into play when determining the length that the device must be installed. A misdemeanor calls for a minimum of six months and a maximum of three years, while a felony caps out at five years with the same six-month minimum as a misdemeanor.
The official name of the mandatory device is an ignition interlock device, but it is sometimes referred to as a breathalyzer device or a breathalyzer-like device, as it functions similarly as a Breathalyzer. The driver of the automobile must supply an alcohol-free breath sample every time they wish to operate their vehicle. The ignition interlock device will also randomly require the driver to submit another sample of their breath. A Manhattan accident attorney explains that this done to prevent the driver from having someone else blow for them to start the vehicle.
In addition to the multiple breath samples it requires, the ignition interlock device is extremely sensitive. In fact, drivers with anything greater or equal to a .025 blood alcohol content reading will flunk, this despite the legal limit for driving in New York being .08. This is done because DWI offenders in the state of New York are not allowed to have any alcohol in their before driving. Don Prudente, the owner of DriveSafe Ignition Interlock of New York, an ignition interlock device supplier claims that, “It’s so sensitive, it picks up what they did the night before. It picks up their hangover.” These devices are expected to cost between $170 to $200 for installation, and $80 a month in maintenance and service fees, the cost to be paid by the DWI offender of course.