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New Connecticut DUI Law Requires Ignition Locks For Convicted Drivers

The ignition lock keeps a car from being started until the driver's alcohol level is tested by the breathalyzer.
The ignition lock keeps a car from being started until the driver's alcohol level is tested by the breathalyzer. Photo Credit:

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — The rules for anyone convicted of drunken driving in Connecticut became more stringent this week due to a new law. 

As of July 1, all Connecticut residents who have been convicted of drunken driving after being charged with operating under the influence, are required to install a breathalyzer on the ignition of their car, according to the Connecticut State Police. This is in addition to the 45-day license suspension

The breathalyzer, known as an ignition interlock device (IID), requires the driver to blow a breath sample into a tube in order for their car to start, State Police said. 

The device will detect the driver’s blood alcohol content and will prevent the car from starting if the reading is above the legal limit, State Police said.

The law was signed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in June. It extends the ignition interlock requirement to all offenders, including those who are ordered to participate in alcohol education programs. 

As a result, more than 6,500 first-time offenders who receive diversion instead of a first-time drunken driving conviction will now have to install ignition interlock devices, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Now, Connecticut will begin to see a reduction in drunk driving deaths, MADD said. 

“This closes a loophole that allowed some offenders to avoid an ignition interlock,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church, in a statement. “This law will now fulfill the commitment to Connecticut residents that the Legislature made back in 2011.”

According to the state Department of Motor Vehicles, the driver must pay for their own Ignition Interlock Device. A device costs about $75 to install and $75 per month to maintain. They also require about $275 in DMV fees. 


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