N.J. Vehicle Ignition Locks For Convicted Drunken Drivers Becomes Law

Image2967New Jerseyans convicted of certain drunken driving offenses would have their vehicles outfitted with a breathalyzer device that would lock their ignition if their blood alcohol concentration reading reached a certain level, under a law signed today by acting Gov. Stephen Sweeney. The ignition interlock device would be mandatory for first-time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration of at least .15, and would remain in place for six months to a year. All repeat offenders would be required to outfit their vehicles for one to three years, under the law.

The measure was named “Ricci’s Law” in honor of Ricci Branca, a 17-year-old Egg Harbor Township teen killed by a drunken driver while riding his bike. The driver, who fled the scene but was later caught, had a blood alcohol concentration of .339, more than four times the legal limit of .08.

The device would require a breath sample from offenders each time they start their vehicles. If their blood alcohol concentration registers above a certain blood alcohol concentration – usually .02 or .04 – the ignition would lock.

The law makes it a disorderly persons offense for someone to start a vehicle for an offender, either by blowing into a device, tampering with it or dismantling it. Star Ledger.

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