July 3, 2013

Maine OUI law deal: Take a sobriety test in car

First-time offenders will be able to cut their license suspensions to 30 days if they agree to a device that locks the ignition if they’re drunk.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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click image to enlarge

Zachary Glaros, who has three drunken-driving convictions on his record, demonstrates the interlock ignition system that requires him to blow into a tube to prove he is sober before starting his car, at his Bloomington, Minn., home. A new Maine law allows people convicted of drunken-driving to shorten their license suspensions if they use such a device.

2011 Associated Press File Photo

Drivers will pay $100 to have their license reinstated and $2.50 a day to lease the device, and must use the device for 150 days.

Drivers who don't use the devices will have their licenses suspended for 180 days and pay $50 reinstatement fees.

Some states take the extra step of requiring that a camera be installed on a car's windshield, to ensure that no one other than the convicted driver blows into the unit. Maine opted against a camera provision.

Nutting said Criminal Justice Committee members wanted to make sure that the device would be affordable to everyone.

"I wanted to make sure this wasn't a rich man's out," he said Tuesday night.

Nutting said he is optimistic that the devices will significantly reduce the rate of repeat offenders by making it difficult to circumvent the law.

"In the end, my main motive was to get as many of these devices as we could into people's cars and to let them return to their jobs and to their schools. If we hadn't done something, they would have re-offended," he said.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at dhoey@pressherald.com

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