N.J. will require all drunk driving offenders to install ignition interlocks

(ShutterStock)

(ShutterStock)

A New Jersey law taking effect Sunday will require all drunk driving offenders to install an ignition interlock in their cars.

Backers say the technology — which requires drivers to periodically blow into a hose that checks their blood alcohol level — helps reduce fatal crashes.

“Expanding the use of ignition interlock devices is just common sense,” Gov. Phil Murphy said when he signed the law in August.

But critics have claimed the new law, which also reduces driver’s license suspension penalties, will not deter drivers from having a drink before getting behind the wheel.

“There’s no reason now that somebody would really worry about going out, getting drunk and driving, getting arrested, and refusing or taking the breath test,” said Cherry Hill defense attorney Evan Levow, “because they’re not going to lose their license.”

New Jersey will become the 34th state, plus Washington, D.C., to require ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders, according to the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which supports the policy.

The law, which some ignition interlock companies lobbied for, requires any offender to install the device in their vehicle for different periods of time based on the severity of the offense.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.