IA Considers Law Requiring Breathalyzers In Cars - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

IA Considers Law Requiring Breathalyzers In Cars

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Preventing drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel, that's the goal of one bill in Iowa.  

The law would require all convicted drunk drivers to install an interlock device, or breathalyzer, in their cars. Right now that's only for repeat offenders and those who have a blood alcohol level higher than .10.

A simple beep tells convicted drunk drivers whether they can get behind the wheel or not. The interlocks are installed under the steering wheel of your car. It gives you two chances to blow into this device and register a BAC below .025 in order to drive. It'll also require you to re-test randomly during your drive and some even have cameras to make sure you're not cheating the system. 

"One drink, one shot, one drink of anything, it's not going to let you start your vehicle," Jared Gravert of Gravert's Auto says. 

Gravert says he installs one or two of these at his auto shop a week. He says the hassle of having to bring in their cars every month to get the interlocks re calibrated have drivers thinking twice about ever making the same mistake again. 

"When people come in every month and they have to have it in for six months to a year, they're like, ‘I'm never going to do this again,'" he says. 

Plus, if a driver fails a test and doesn't bring the car back into the shop within four days, the car shuts off completely, requiring the driver to get their car towed to move it anywhere. 

All of that information then gets sent to authorities. 

"It does show me if there's a violation on there it will pop up," Gravert says. 

Police and Mothers Against Drunk Driving say this is more effective than revoking someone's license, physically keeping them from getting behind the wheel.

"Every time you get behind the wheel, you are suffering the consequences of your action," Bettendorf Police Chief Phil Redington says. 

"With a device like that, if you're out for an evening and you're thinking well I can't drink too much because if I drink too much, my car won't be able to start; that should get people's awareness that they can't drink too much and drive," he says. 

Convicted drivers have to pay for it out of their own pocket, each device costing about $65 a month.  

"It does reinforce the fact that they have to suffer the consequences," Redington says. 

As for Gravert, he's seen first hand that these work. In the three years he's installed them, only one driver has had to come back and get it installed again. 

"They're going to be prone not to do it again," he says.