Rhode Island to Become the 28th State to Mandate Ignition Interlock Devices

Drunk drivers in Rhode Island may face larger consequences as the legislative changes may be adding another penalty very soon for DUI convictions. Our state may become the 28th in the nation to require the installation of Ignition Interlock Devices (IID) if someone is found guilty of driving under the influence. The current laws only impose installation of the IID on habitual offenders or whose blood-alcohol content was twice above the legal limit.

The aim is to deter drunk drivers from getting on the road. A study from MADD reported that IID’s have prevented over 1.7 million drunk drivers from causing harm or injury to themselves and others.

How Does an Ignition Interlock Device Work?

The IID is connected directly to the ignition. The driver is required to provide a breath sample. If the device detects any alcohol in the driver’s system, then the car will not start. The driver will also need to provide breath samples at intervals during the trip. The results of each test, as well, will also be logged. The judge and caseworkers can review these results at any given time, and will usually do so periodically.

The Penalties for DUI

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have approved the matter, and plans are being set into motion once Governor Gina Raimondo signs off on the bill. This means that even those who are convicted of DUI for the first time will be required to install the IID onto their vehicle and face the additional penalties for DUI.

The penalties for a first-time DUI include the following:

  • Maximum 1 year in jail
  • Fines totaling $100 to $500
  • Up to 18-month license suspension

The person convicted of a DUI will also be responsible for paying for the costs of installing the IID. Essentially, the person is “leasing” the IID for however long the restriction is. There is the initial cost of installation, monthly fees, and there is also the cost of removing the device once the sentence has been served. The costs add up quickly, and may cost the driver at least $1, 000 a year.

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