Who must use an IID in New York?

The use of ignition interlock devices is one of the penalties that New York drivers may face if convicted of a drunk driving offense.

According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, even people convicted of a first-ever drunk driving offense can be required to install and use an ignition interlock device. This can happen whether a conviction is for a felony or a misdemeanor charge. For this reason, anyone who has been arrested for a DUI should know what IIDs are, how they work and how they may be changing.

What is an ignition interlock device?

An ignition interlock device is intended to prevent an impaired person from operating a motor vehicle. Driving privileges are sometimes lost for a period of time after a DUI conviction. Once these privileges are reinstated, the IID may be required for a designated duration which can vary from case to case.

Current IID models are comprised of two primary components. First, a microchip is installed in a vehicle's ignition. This chip receives and stores data collected by a breath capture unit that is mounted on the vehicle's dashboard. The chip is also programmed to keep an ignition locked if the data shows impairment or to unlock an ignition if no impairment is detected. These systems can be cumbersome and even embarrassing to drivers.

When a driver wants to operate a vehicle, a breath test must be passed. Once the driver has provided the breath sample via the dash-mounted unit, the ignition is either kept in a locked position or unlocked so that the vehicle may be driven. Which happens depends upon the breath test results.

Are other forms of IIDs used?

The Driver Alcohol Detection System, sometimes referred to as DADS, is actively researching other forms of ignition interlock devices. One advantage of new systems is that they are less visibly obvious and therefore less embarrassing to those who must use them. One of these test units is based upon modern touch technology.

Instead of having an obvious unit on a dashboard, drivers would have special sensors installed into their vehicles' steering wheels per Mashable.com. Upon the placement of hands on a steering wheel, impairment levels can be identified and information sent to the microchip that controls the ignition.

In addition to the touch-based ignition interlock devices, BoldRide.com explains that some manufacturers of new vehicles are researching having IID functionality built into brand new vehicles. Congress is reportedly in support of this concept.

Important information for drivers

When faced with a drunk driving arrest, prompt help is a must. The consequences for a conviction can be costly and have long-lasting impact. Making the choice to call an attorney at such a time is recommended.