Records Show About One Third Of DWI Convicts In New York Avoid Engine Locks
BUFFALO – A recent review of the state government records shows that only about one third of New Yorkers convicted with DWI and required to install special ignition locks in their vehicles ever get the devices installed.
The law requiring use of special ignition locks took effect two years ago and the recent review shows that 23,000 motorists in the state have not equipped their vehicles with the ignition interlock technology. The offenders are able to do this often, by taking their vehicles off the road, just to avoid the installation expense.
Ignition interlock devices are designed to take a sample of the driver’s breath and prevent the vehicle from starting if the blood-alcohol level is found to be 0.025 percent or more. The allowed legal limit in New York is 0.08 percent.
According to authorities, many motorists avoid the installation expense of these ignition interlock devices by simply staying off the road. Others will simply wait for six months to one year, depending on the required duration of the ignition device by court. Others deliberately avoid driving their car and are often caught driving a friend’s or relatives vehicle.
John Sullivan, project coordinator for the Erie County STOP DWI program says, “If they truly do not have a vehicle and are not driving, then we don’t have a problem.” The Erie County STOP DWI program oversees drivers required to use interlocks.
He also said that these offenders are simply breaking the law if they use another vehicle. “Drunk drivers are notoriously bad drivers anyway. Statistically, they make a lot of driving mistakes. They should be picked up eventually.”
The director of the state Office of probation and Correctional Alternatives, Robert Maccarone, also showed his concern on the matter. In his letter to county officials, he wrote that about 70 percent of the offenders nationwide continue to show that they no longer operate a vehicle or have one as of March. They do this by transferring ownership of their vehicle to friends or family. Due to this fact, a lot of these offenders will continue to operate vehicles and drive, despite the penalties.