It’s been almost a fortnight since the new DUI law became effective in Mississippi. The new law gives first time offenders a chance to request an ignition interlock for a period of 90 days instead of the usual license suspension that accompanies a first time conviction. The previous DUI Mississippi Yazoo City ignition-interlock law left it to the judge’s discretion to impose an ignition interlock after a driver’s second DUI conviction.

According to the new law though, a license suspension can be exchanged with an ignition-interlock and repeat offenders will be required to have the device for a period of one to three years along with a restricted driver’s license.

The benefits of an interlock

The new law became effective on October 1st, but state agencies say that it will take a while before all the proposed rules and regulations can be enforced in the right way. But in spite of this small glitch, attorneys in the state are looking at the law as good news. DUI attorney Wayne Woodall says that the law is exceptional news for first-time offenders who are normally left with no mans to travel to work after their licenses are suspended.

At least you can work

For those people who made a silly mistake and are repentant, the ignition interlock law comes as a boon. It gives them the freedom to travel to work, while making them a part of the program where they learn about the dangers of drunk driving and can demonstrate an awareness of safe driving practices over a period of time.

An ignition interlock is a device that requires a driver to take a breath test before starting the car. If the gadget detects a BAC that is above the limit, the vehicle will not start. Also, there is an intelligent way to prevent someone else taking the test on behalf of a drunk driver―random breath tests that are required at unpredictable intervals.

Pros and cons

A first time DUI conviction can be costly. Drivers in Mississippi have to pay about $1,000 in fines and related costs, which does not include attorney’s fees. If the driver opts for an ignition interlock, then that adds to the total cost. This could be a major hurdle in the proposed regulations, as many of the drivers who may be eligible for an ignition interlock in lieu of a license suspension may not have the means to afford it.

The gadget will cost $150 for installation, about $100 as monthly monitoring fees, and $70 for regular inspection, calibration, and repairs. An additional $50 will have to be paid into a state fund to defray costs for devices for those who live on public assistance. So people who are too lazy to work receive another benefit?!

The expenses can be a bit of a problem, but the law itself is being applauded by many. Advocacy groups and the famous anti-drunk-driving group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has vowed support for the law saying the interlock system will help prevent loss of life by repeat offenders. Vendors in the state have already begin to look at opening shop for installing and monitoring interlocks and one hopes that the new law will bring down DUI related crime numbers in Mississippi.