1st-time offenders would have to get ignition interlock systems installed

The Manitoba government wants to crack down on first-time drunk drivers by installing alcohol-detection devices in their vehicles.

If it passes, the NDP government's bill would make it mandatory for those convicted for the first time of impaired driving to use ignition interlock systems.

Ignition interlock devices are wired directly into a vehicle's ignition system and use technology similar to that used in breathalyzer tests.

A driver must blow into the device, which prevents the vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected.

Currently, only repeat offenders and those convicted of the most serious impaired-driving offences must have ignition interlock systems installed.

1,800 first-time offenders last year

Justice Minister Andrew Swan said about 1,800 Manitoba motorists were convicted of impaired driving for the first time last year.

"Each one of those 1,800 people would now be subject to this new law," Swan told reporters on Monday.

"If they want to get their licence back at the earliest opportunity, after the year's suspension, they will have to have an ignition interlock."

Andrew Murie of Mothers Against Drunk Driving applauded the province's move, saying ignition interlock systems are a great rehabilitation tool.

"A lot of times, what happens with the technology is when the person first gets it on the vehicle, they'll wake up and they'll phone the interlock company and say, 'Your device is not working,'" Murie said.

"And they'll say to the person, 'OK, what time did you stop drinking last night?'"

'No financial assistance'

Drivers who are required to install ignition interlock systems in their vehicles must pay a $50 application fee, a $150 installation fee, a monthly monitoring fee of $105, and a $50 fee to de-install the machine.

"There is no financial assistance for that," Swan said.

"What I would say to people that have a financial problem is don't drink and drive, and you'll never have to have ignition interlock put in your vehicle."

The provincial government's bill would also toughen the penalties for people who are required to use an interlock system but don't use one.

The bill would raise the maximum penalty from a $2,000 fine to a $5,000 fine and one year in jail.

Source: CBC News Manitoba


Last updated on: 2012-12-14 | Link to this post