In Minnesota, 500 DUI offenders are part of a pilot program where devices are installed in thier cars that only allow them to drive sober. The ingnition interlock devices require a driver to blow and inhale with the device for a set amount of time. If their blood-alcohol level is above 0.02, the car will not start. A second test is required after five minutes and then randomly throughout the drive. If at any time the driver fails, the device will disable the car. The results for each test are downlaoded by vendors once a month. The state Depart of Public Safety monitors the data and reports all failures to the appropriate probation officers.
Since the program began in Hennepin County in 2006, they have had no repeat offenses by the approximately 100 participants. Last month, the program expanded statewide and is growing by about 100 volunteer offenders each month. The increase in participants has lowered the costs for such devices. Offenders pay private vendors about $50 to install the device, $75 to $100 for monitoring, and another $50 to have the device removed.
Minnesota lawmakers plan to review the program in 2011 and debate if the devices should become mandatory for offenders. The devices have been used intermittently throughout the United States since the 1990s and have grown in popularity in the past decade. In Illinois, the devices have been voluntary for first-time offenders and mandatory for repeat offenders since 2008. Starting July of this year, Wisconsin will require all first-time offenders with a blood-alcohol concentration above 0.15 and all repeat offenders to have the device. Ignition interlocking devises are used for first-time offenders in about 22 states.
The devices have shown to be an effective component in comprehending and improving alcohol and drug treatment.
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