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Bangor & Augusta, Maine

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Don Briggs
Don Briggs
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Maine Senate gives green light to Ignition Interlock in hopes of controlling drunk drivers

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On March 27th, the Maine Senate gave full approval to the implementation of an Ignition Interlock program which would install breath analysis devices in the vehicles of convicted OUI offenders. The devices require drivers to breath into a miniature breathalyzer installed on the dashboard, and, if the driver’s blood alcohol percentage is above the programmed limit (usually .02% -.04%), the vehicle will not start.

The systems also administer random tests while the car is in motion to prevent intoxicated drivers from fooling the test by having a friend breath into the device for them. If they exceed the limit, the car will warn the driver to stop the car and then set off the alarm, flash its lights, honk the horn, etc., until the engine is turned off.

So what does this mean for Maine drivers? The details of the plan are still in the works, and procedures differ from state to state, but OUI offenders may face mandatory installation of the devices on their vehicles if Maine follows down the same path as California. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) launched a campaign in November of 2006 to push for ITD installation for all OUI convictions, even first time offenders, but some criticize the devices, suggesting that they may actually lead to more accidents.
For more information and details on the bill titled “An Act to Reduce Drunk Driving” sponsored by Senator Lynn Bromley, click here.