Ignition Interlocks For DUI Offenders

Proposal passes SC Senate panel

March 21, 2018 - 11:38 am
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MARCH 20, 2018 BY BILL DUBENSKY (South Carolina Radio Network)

A state Senate panel advances a proposal that would require all South Carolina drivers convicted of a DUI to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle as a condition to get behind the wheel again.

The machine requires the driver to blow into a breathalyzer before the vehicle can start. The offender would then have to randomly blow in it while the vehicle is on. If the device detects alcohol, it will not allow the car to start.

“Before your car will start up, you’ve got to blow into the device, there is actually a camera there,” State Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, said.

Current state law mandates the device for those whose license is suspended between their arrest and trial if their blood-alcohol content is above .15 (the legal limit allowed while driving is .08). It also mandates the device for a person trying to get their license back after a second DUI conviction.

“Before you could get your license to drive back, you’ve got to hook one of these devices up to your car,” Hutto said during the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Tuesday.

There is no cost to the state. All expenses associated with the device would be paid by the offender. “Basically, it costs about a $100 to put it on and monitoring it is something like $75 a month,”  Hutto said. There are provisions in the proposal for indigent offenders who cannot afford the ignition interlock and need their vehicles to get to work.

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