Select Page

The Georgia Senate is considering a proposal that could alter state drunk driving laws.

Senate Bill 485 would require all first-time DUI offenders to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. The measure would mandate that those convicted of a first drunk driving offense would have the devices in their vehicles, at their expense, for a minimum of six months.

Glynn Birch, the former national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said in a press conference at the Georgia Capitol that “Law enforcement can’t be everywhere.” Birch added that the devices “change…behavior before the party even starts.”

What does an ignition interlock do?

As you know, before starting a vehicle, a driver must blow into an ignition interlock device. If an impermissible amount of alcohol is detected in the breath sample, the vehicle will not start. The device also notifies authorities of the failed test, which means that your driver’s license suspension and probation can be extended – and so can the length of time you’re required to have the ignition interlock in your car.

How much does an ignition interlock device cost? Most companies will install one for an initial fee of between $100 to $200. There is then a monthly maintenance fee of around $90.

NYT investigation

Last year, the New York Times took a look at the effectiveness of ignition interlock devices. Their conclusion was that these mini-Breathalyzers both prevent and cause motor vehicle accidents. While they prevent people from driving drunk and causing crashes, the devices also require what are known as “rolling tests” – which require drivers to recheck their breath after the vehicle has been started and while it is being driven.

These random retests are dangerous distractions for drivers who should be focused on the roads and on traffic.

At the time of publication of this post to our Canton criminal defense blog, the Georgia Senate had not yet taken action on Senate Bill 485. We will certainly keep you up to date on any future developments, however, so please check back.