New Nebraska DUI law key to rise in use of interlock ignition devices

Stateline Midwest ~ October 2012

A new Nebraska law is dramatically changing how DUI offenses are handled, the Lincoln Journal Star reports, with the use of interlock ignition devices on pace to increase by 20 percent in 2012.

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The state is using the term “No Interlock, No Keys” to describe how the system works under LB 667, which took effect in January. Individuals arrested for a first or second time on charges of driving under the influence can apply for an ignition interlock permit. Their car is then equipped with this device, and won’t start unless the driver records a breath-alcohol concentration level of under .03. The advantage of this option for DUI offenders is that they continue to have driving privileges. Nebraska’s number of license-revocation hearings, meanwhile, has declined due to the number of arrestees choosing the interlock option. This trend, in turn, is saving law enforcement time and money.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, Nebraska, Illinois and Kansas are among the 17 U.S. states that require or highly incentivize the use of interlock devices in all DUI convictions. Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin only require the devices in certain cases (repeat offenders and/or those who recorded a high blood-alcohol content level). In other states, discretion is given to local judges.