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New ignition interlock law takes effect in Rhode Island

The New Year has only been around for 13 days, and there are probably some people out there who have already given up on their New Year's resolutions (there are probably many more keeping up with them, too). But there's one entity that hasn't given up on a new resolution, and that's the state of Rhode Island. On Jan. 1, the state put into effect a law that allows judges to ban DUI offenders from operating a vehicle without ignition interlock.

In other words, judges in Rhode Island now have the power to force a DUI offender to purchase and use an ignition interlock on their vehicle.

This may not seem like a big deal initially, but this is a major step by the state. DUI offenders already endure a massive amount of penalties for their offense, and by further limiting their ability to operate vehicles (may it be their own or another person's) and hurting their financial outlook, this will be seen as a huge blow to people who are trying to turn their lives around in the wake of a DUI.

However, this is being painted as a major safety victory, which was inevitable. Certainly having ignition interlock devices out there is going to make the public a little safer: simply because ignition interlocks make it more difficult for people to be out on the road. A past DUI offender in the state of Rhode Island who has a 0.00 blood alcohol level is banned from driving his friend's car (which doesn't have an ignition interlock) to go pick up his mother or to go deal with a serious matter across town.

Source: WPRI, "RI judges can now impose ignition interlocks on DUI offenders," Shaun Towne, Jan. 1, 2015

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