Emma's Law: A look at ignition interlocks for DUIs - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Emma's Law: A look at ignition interlocks for DUIs

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"Emma's Law" is a bill working through the South Carolina Statehouse. It pushes for tougher DUI penalties and would mean more people forced to use ignition interlock systems if convicted of DUI.

American Tire Center in North Charleston is the only place in the Lowcountry that can install and monitor LifeSafer interlock devises which are already in use in the state.

If Emma's Law passes, they could see their interlock business triple. Convicted offenders are required to have a device in every car they drive regularly, even if it is not registered to them. Company cars owned by an employee are usually exempt. 

After blowing into the device several things can happen.

"You can blow a pass, warn fail or abort -- abort meaning they blew incorrectly," Dale Wright with American Tire Center explained.

"It's a fairly smart device. If you try to tamper with the device or try to start the car without the device it also knows that," Wright said.

If you pass, you will still have to pass random "retests" as you travel.

"Periodically as you go down the road, it asks for a running retest, so the client has to be aware of the device. They have to blow while they are driving," Wright said.

If you fail that retest you will know and so will everyone else.

"If they don't blow a pass within 3 minutes the horn will start to sound until they can blow a pass," Wright said.

There is a cost for the device for the offender that basically paying a monthly rental fee.

"Normally the monthly monitor for this device for a client is $117 a month," he said.

It works out to about $3 a day, but there is a state fund set up to help those who cannot afford the device.

Another price you will pay is the loss of the luxury of eating in your car.

"Sugar can definitely cause it to go into a false positive," Wright said.

The yeast in bread or food that is breaded as well as mouthwash can also register as a false positive. 

"It goes down as an alcohol violation. But they also have the right to appeal that," Wright said.

 


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