Many DUI offenders expect to pay high fines and penalties if they are arrested and convicted of a DUI. According to a new law in Oklahoma, however, Oklahoma DUI offenders with a high blood alcohol concentration will also have to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID).
DUI offenders in Oklahoma are now required to install an Ignition Interlock Device if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is high. The law was passed after Erin Swezey, a twenty-year old college student, was killed by a drunken driver who had multiple DUI convictions and who was operating a vehicle with a BAC three times above the legal limit of 0.08%.
What is an Ignition Interlock Device?
An Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is a mechanism, like a breathalyzer, which a driver has installed in their car to eliminate the driver’s ability to start the car until their breath is sampled. If the driver’s breath is greater than the pre-programmed level, the Ignition Interlock Device prevents the vehicle starting.
In some cases, the driver may also have to give random test samples as they are operating the vehicle. If the sample is too high, it will signal for the car to stop. Requiring periodic samples may only be required with the most restrictive programs, but officials consider it necessary for some drivers, who may attempt to have another person provide the initial test sample to start the car.
After the information is gathered by the IID it is sent to the appropriate agency or department within the state. State laws determine how often the sample is sent. Some states require transmission one time per month; other states require it immediately.
Oklahoma requirements for Ignition Interlock Devices
Oklahoma’s new laws will require all judges to mandate installation of an Ignition Interlock Device for all drivers who are convicted of operating a vehicle with a BAC of .15% or higher. This includes all first-time DUI offenders.
The device must remain in the vehicle for 18 months for first-time offenders and four years for second-time offenders if their BAC is above the legal limit of 0.08% or higher. Convictions for three or more DUIs will require installation of the device for five years.
Another provision of the law requires the convicted drivers to update their driver’s license to read “Interlock Required.” This new requirement was passed to allow police officers to quickly assess whether a driver needed a IID without doing extensive background checks. It also eliminates the chance that a driver would operate another person’s car which does not have the proper IID installed.
As with all new DUI laws, the goal of updating Oklahoma’s drunk driving laws is to reduce the chance that drivers will offend multiple times and injure or kill other drivers. According to State Senator Kim David, “As legislators our first priority is protecting the public’s safety. The measure strengthens the state’s drunken driving laws to help better protect motorists and hopefully deter individuals from drinking and driving.”
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