Various states have attempted to implement new laws to drop the number of DUI – driving under the influence – cases that happen each year. New Mexico might be on to something, however, as their new ignition interlock law has played a role in significantly reducing DUI cases within the state.
‘Under the influence’
Driving under the influence, also informally known as drunk driving, is a major offense that depicts the offending party operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol (or, in some instances, another drug).
Also known as a DUI, this criminal offense prosecutes those who drive while their blood alcohol content (BAC) is over the legal limit, often those set by their jurisdiction’s statutes.
These legal limits are those that do not permit people to drive with such as BAC level, as they (the offending driver) cannot drive safely while intoxicated. The legal limits vary between states, however most states set the legal limit between .08 to .10 in most instances.
In most countries, notably the United States, drunk driving is a serious offense as it puts other parties, including the driver, at serious risk of injury and even death. Those who are prosecuted for driving while drink, especially if they injury or kill another party, are subject to heavy fines and/or prison sentences for their crime.
Many jurisdictions also prosecute people who are found in physical control of a car while intoxicated. Even if they are not actually driving the vehicle, they are still subject to prosecution due to the weight of such a crime.
‘The new legislation’
New Mexico is now one of the first states to implement a new ignition interlock law for those who may be subject to driving while intoxicated. According to news sources this past September, these new laws have helped ‘reduce DUI cases by 40 percent in the state.’
Ignition interlock systems help prevent people from driving while drunk. The device is wired into the car’s ignition system, requiring the driver to blow into the device to measure their BAC. If their BAC is over the legal limit, the car will not start.
According to an ignition interlock specialist associated with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the laws have helped reduce ‘repeat offenders by as much as 40 to 80 percent.’ It also cut down on the amount of ‘people who would be subject to driving with suspended licenses in the state.’
Other states that have implemented the new law include Alabama. Alabama Legislature passed ignition interlock laws in April, which went into effect by August 1.