A new Tennessee law is designed to prevent repeat DUI offenders. As of July first, convicted DUI offenders will have breathalyzer devices in their cars. The device is also known as "ignition interlock systems."
Under the measure, offenders can keep their licenses but there are restrictions.
The Tennessee lawmaker who spearheaded this law was Representative Tony Shipley. He is a retired paramedic who witnessed first-hand the devastating consequences of drinking and driving.
He says ten-thousand first time DUI offenders are expected next year but he hopes this will help steer people from impaired driving.
Now, Tennessee joins more than a dozen other states who require this device and possible life-saving tool.
Dell Russell lost her husband of twenty-three years to an impaired driver back in 1995. Since then, she's worked to advocate for victims through mothers against drunk driving. "You want to save lives and help others."
Russell says House Bill 353 likely will help deter repeat DUI offenders. The new law requires convicted DUI offenders to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. Those offenders will be required to blow into a breathalyzer.
If there's any alcohol in your system, even mouthwash, your car won't start.
While some may attempt to skirt the device, there are a few safeguards in place. When you're behind the wheel, the device could randomly require you to blow into the system. Also, while you're blowing into the breathalyzer, a picture is taken to verify who you are; then the picture and test result is stored. Representative Tony Shipley says a court or probation officer will check the device each month.
Russell says, "I absolutely think it's our state going in the right direction. There's no doubt about it's going to save lives. The other 18 states that have it in effect, they already see a difference in their deaths and injuries."
If someone else risks blowing into device for the offender, they're considered a law breaker, too.
Shipley says the device costs three dollars a day, which is paid for by the user. To take a look at the law, click here: http://content.foxtvmedia.com/whbq/HB0353.pdf
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