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Tougher DWI Laws Drive up NYS Interlock Ignition Device Installations in 2010

By Thomas J. Carr

Illustrative of how states are increasingly relying on interlock ignition devices (IID) to fight drunk driving, the estimated number of currently installed IIDs in vehicles throughout the nation jumped by 17 percent over the year, according to new study. Likely helping drive up installations was the full enactment of Leandra’s Law in New York, which required all drivers with misdemeanor or felony DWI convictions to install for six months an IID in any vehicle they own or use.

According to the annual survey by Richard Roth, executive director of the Santa Fe., N.M.-based Impact DWI advocacy organization, the estimated number of currently installed IIDs nationwide rose to 249,000 in 2011 from 212,000 a year earlier. During the same period, the estimated number of currently installed IIDs in New York doubled to 5,000 from 2,500.

These statistics provide a first impression of how the Aug. 15, 2010 enactment of IID requirement has impacted installations statewide. In the Roth study, New York ranked No. 19 in the nation for IID installations. Of the 1.4 million people arrested nationwide for impaired driving over the year, about 18 percent of them ended up installing IIDs. Roth’s estimates were based on data collected last June and July from 46 states and the 13 U.S. IID distributors.

The jump in IID installations in New York shows why it is imperative for anyone arrested for drunk driving to contact a DWI attorney. These are not kazoos the state is requiring DWI-convicted drivers to install and blow into to start their cars. The cost of installing, maintaining and removing this technology can exceed $1,000, and that comes on top of the embarrassment to oneself and one’s family of having to drive with such devices on their cars and other fees.

While the installation of an IID is mandatory in New York for DWI convictions, a criminal defense attorney can challenge the charges against a driver by scrutinizing the evidence against him or her and ensuring his or her due process rights were not violated.

Thomas J. Carr, Esq. is a partner at Tully Rinckey PLLC and concentrates his practice in the area of criminal defense – including DWI – in the Albany, Troy, Schenectady and Saratoga Springs area. He can be reached at To schedule a meeting with one of Tully Rinckey PLLC’s criminal defense attorneys call 1-888-LAW-4LIFE.


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