A New Mexico law takes effect Friday requiring that vehicles of those convicted of DWI be equipped with an interlock, which prevents a car from starting if the device detects the driver is drunk. Some see it as a good solution to a persistent problem, reports the Albuquerque Tribune. Others say the devices are cumbersome, expensive and fraught with loopholes.
Either way, the number of alcohol-sensing devices in New Mexico should at least double in the next two years. As many as 6,000 offenders by 2007 may have the devices, a number that would increase as people sentenced to use them comply with the law. About 3,000 interlocks are installed now. The driver blows into the device, which uses a fuel cell to process the breath sample. It then records such information as the person’s breath-alcohol concentration and the number of times the person tried to start the car. That data is then accessible by a probation officer or others in the judicial system.