New push to close loophole in interlock law

An ignition interlock device, which requires convicted drunken drivers to blow into it to detect their alcohol levels. (12/12/12)

WOODBURY - Lawmakers are working to close a state law loophole that lets convicted drunken drivers avoid using ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.

The use of the drunken driving detection devices is already required in 17 states for first-time convictions, and now the National Traffic Safety Board is considering a recommendation that would make all states get on board.

New York state already requires the device to be installed on the cars of all drivers who are convicted of DWI for the first time, but the law has a glaring hole: many drivers who simply say they sold their cars can avoid getting the device installed.

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The Nassau District Attorney's Office says that first-time offenders across the state are permitted to shirk the interlock requirement nearly 70 percent of the time. Back in July, the office caught 25 convicted drunken drivers who avoided getting interlocks and were found to be driving themselves to meet their probation officers.

Sen. Charles Fuschillo has proposed a bill that would make convicted drunken drivers wear an ankle bracelet for six months if they say they've sold their vehicle. The bracelets would detect the wearers' alcohol level.

Fuschillo's bill was passed in the state Senate, but didn't make it through the Assembly.

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