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More Than 6,100 DUI Offenders Got Interlock Breathalyzers In 2009

It has been one year since the enactment of the state's Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) Program (Illinois Secretary of State). More than 6,100 first-time DUI offenders have installed the devices since the law took hold in 2009 (Rockford Register Star). 

The 2009 law requires first-time offenders who still wish to drive to install (and pay for) the BAIID apparatus. The average cost is $100 for installation, plus a monthly rental fee of about $75, but the state will help indigent drivers pay for it (Illinois Secretary of State). 

BAIID devices require the driver to blow into a breathalyzer and prove they have a blood alcohol concentration of less than 0.05 percent before the key will turn.

Drivers must blow into it a few times while their driving to ensure that they didn't have a friend do it for them. But critics say there is nothing to stop a passenger from doing it.

Still, the fact that more than 6,000 convicted drunk drivers physically cannot start their cars if they're intoxicated should help Chicagoans sleep better at night. Police officers also applaud the use of BAIID monitors, including Rockford officer Lt. Dane Person, who was quoted in the article:

"It is an excellent idea. It provides control over individuals who have had the propensity to drive impaired."

However, an Illinois DUI attorney quoted in the article criticized the law for not providing better subsidies for the cost of the device. He claims that people who cannot afford it (and don't qualify for assistance) but need to go to their jobs will simply take their chances and drive illegally.