Legislation that will revise penalties for drunk driving and expand the use of ignition interlock devices (IID), was signed into law on Friday by Gov. Phil Murphy.
The bill, S-824, was sponsored by Senators Nicholas Scutari (D-22th) and Joseph Lagana (D-38th).
An IID is a device that detects alcohol from breath samples it takes from the driver. If alcohol is detected, the vehicle’s engine will not start.
“Drunk driving is a serious issue in New Jersey,” said Scutari. “Having been a prosecutor for 16 years, my experience is that the use of ignition interlocks is the best way to safe guard our roads while also allowing minor offenders to continue their employment.”
Under the law, first time offenders with a BAC of 0.08 percent to 0.10 percent will be required to have an IID installed in their vehicle for three months. An offender with a BAC of 0.10 percent to 0.15 percent will be required to have an IID installed in their vehicle for seven to twelve months. Any first time offender who has a BAC above 0.15 percent will have their license suspended for four to six months and have an IID installed during and after the suspension for nine to fifteen months.
“The numbers show that requiring the installation of an ignition interlock device is the most effective way to prevent repeat offenses and ultimately reduce deaths caused by drunk driving,” said Lagana. “You simply cannot drive drunk with one in your vehicle because the engine will not even start if you are intoxicated. This law will make our roads safer to travel for all of our residents.”
Offenders that do not own, lease or operate a vehicle will be required to attest to this in court and their license will be suspended for a period of time equal to the IID installation period.