CLAY COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)- Starting this fall, if you’ve been convicted of a DUI offense and decide to have a drink, you won’t have to worry about the consequences of getting behind the wheel. That’s because, you won’t even be able to start your engine.
“October 1st, the interlocks are going to be mandatory for 1st offenders in the state of Mississippi. And they’ll be required to have an interlock in their car if they’re going to drive their vehicle. It will also be in effect for second or thirds and it allows them to drive their vehicle with an interlock in there. If they choose not to put an interlock in there, their vehicle goes to impound, where it remains until they can put it in there or their suspension time is up,” said Life Saver Interlock Official Fred Bowers.
The devices are installed inside the vehicle. Before drivers can crank up, they have to breathe into the device.
” The unit is extremely efficient. It measures the breath of alcohol and there’s not much tolerance. If someone drinks two beers, they’re not going to be able to start the car. If they drink a beer and eat a sandwich they’ll be able to start the car.” said Bowers.
And it’s not just beer or wine.
” If a person is using Listerine or mouthwash and they go out to take a test, they will fail that test. No question,” said Bowers.
” Just going to court and getting a slap on the wrist, that day is over. Now it’s time the law has given us something, a device we can put in cars to slow these people down because what’s going to get their attention is, now they’re being monitored, when they blow in this device they have to be able to pass the test themselves,” said CL Hoyle with North central Probation Services.
The ignition interlocks are making a difference. Fewer offenders are going back to jail for the same crime.
” The highway is safe for the public for sure. For everyone of these in the vehicle, that’s one less chance somebody’s driving a 5,000 pound bullet that may strike someone. It saves lives, it changes families, it’s just a good product all the way around,” said Bowers.
A DUI First Offense now carries an ignition interlock for 90 days. If you are convicted a second time, you will be locked out for at least a year.