While most Americans are against drunk driving, millions of drivers face DUI fines and penalties each year. To curb this dangerous trend, legislation passed by the State of Georgia will now require drivers guilty of a DUI to choose between two options: drive with a limited license, or have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. This new law, which is already being celebrated by civic organizations, could have a major impact on your life – and your wallet.
How the New Law Works
The new section of Georgia’s DUI law gives law enforcement officers the right to enforce one of two censures on drivers guilty of a DUI. The first, a limited license, comes with a $25 issuing fee and the usual restrictions – and many drivers will do almost anything to avoid these. The second – and more expensive – option that the law offers first-time DUI offenders is more high-tech.
If you’ve been arrested after July 6 you will have to use an Ignition Interlock Device at a cost of $100 and a $2.60 daily service fee. This device could cost in excess of $1000 for the period you’d be forced to use it, but your standard license would remain unchanged.
How an Ignition Interlock Device Works
What exactly is this new technology that the authorities are hoping will curb drunk driving – and how does it work? An ignition interlock device is a piece of equipment that won’t let your vehicle start if you’re over the legal limit. To start your vehicle, you’ll need to breathe into a hand-held unit that looks like a breathalyser. If you’re under the limit your vehicle ignition will engage as usual and if you’re over the limit, you’re not going anywhere – except by Uber.
Will the New Law Really Reduce DUIs?
According to official estimates, drivers who are found to be DUI by law enforcement officers have driven under the influence an average of 80 times before their arrest. This creates a huge potential for road accidents and the tragic deaths and injuries they cause. What’s more, a limited driver’s license is no guarantee that the offender wont drive drunk again – but an ignition interlock device is a real deterrent that will make citizens think twice before they drink and drive.
It may be possible for repeat DUI offenders to cheat the system by asking a sober friend to blow into their ignition interlock device, but this would be a further offence and drivers are more likely to be pressured by those around them to take it easy and get a lift home.
Georgia’s Authorities Expect a Major Change in Driver Habits
The changes to Georgia’s DUI law have given the authorities extra ammunition in their fight against drunk drivers. By pressuring offenders financially and socially, Georgia lawmakers hope to create a social environment where driving under the influence just isn’t worth it anymore. Time will tell whether the new law achieves its goals.
If you or someone you know is finding it difficult to stay sober on the road, don’t wait until you’re pulled over – call it a day, get a ride home, and keep yourself and others safe on Georgia’s roads.
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