Leandra’s Law, which went into effect on Nov. 18, 2009, was named in memory of an 11-year-old who was killed due to an adult’s drunk driving. It was part of the New York State Legislature’s response not only to the event but to the trend of alcohol-related car crashes.
Changing laws to make roads safer
The changes to vehicle and traffic law increased the penalties for anyone caught driving while intoxicated. As of Aug. 15, 2010, anyone who is convicted of DWI or DUI is required to have an ignition interlock device on every car that they operate or own. An “ignition interlock” restriction will also be added to the person’s driver’s license.
Once installed, the ignition interlock device has to stay inside the vehicle for a minimum of 12 months. There are some exceptions to this rule, but they have to be permitted formally in court. Even when a person’s license is revoked due to a DUI, the ignition interlock restriction is still added to their license record.
How an ignition interlock device works
This type of device will connect to the ignition system of your vehicle and can detect the presence of alcohol in your breath. Cars with these devices installed cannot be started without an acceptable breath sample. Any alcohol content present in the driver’s breath will prevent the car from starting.
Some drivers have reported difficulties when trying to start their car after using an alcohol-heavy mouthwash. If oral hygiene is part of your busy morning routine before leaving for work, you may want to switch to an alcohol-free mouthwash to avoid any holdups.
You don’t want to be in the situation where you have to prove to a machine that you’re sober before you can start up your car. But if you ever do have to deal with an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, you’ll want to understand how they work and what the laws are surrounding them.