We've seen the DUI checkpoints which are aimed to keep drunk drivers off the streets. Now, the state wants one more preventive measure: this time for convicted DUI offenders. The Transportation and Judiciary Committees are looking into a bill that would require first time offenders to install breathalyzers in their cars. The interlock device would prevent them from driving unless they blew a reading below the legal limit.
"The national statistics indicate two thirds of people who have their license suspended for DUI still drive. They cheat the system basically, but with the interlock devices, the system is 80 to 90 percent effective from preventing those people from driving," said State Sen. Don DeFronzo, who proposed the bill.
Right now, Connecticut uses the interlock system for offenders with multiple court convictions and some attorneys even question those. They say it's not appropriate for first time offenders.
"I think you're really punishing people that aren't repeat offenders, and because we don't even have the device running properly for these second time offenders' cars, maybe we should figure out that first before we start putting it in everyone's cars that get arrested," said Teresa DiNardi, a DUI attorney.
Attorneys also say the devices are costly to maintain. They cost about $1000 just to be installed. Lawmakers say they're working on a plan to help alleviate that cost for offenders who can't afford them.
The bill is in the early stages. It still has to get through some public hearings and a few committees before it even makes its way to the state House or Senate.