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Connecticut lawmakers approve ignition interlock bill

Connecticut lawmakers hope that a new bill will reduce the number of drunk driving accidents in the state by requiring even first-time offenders to install ignition interlock devices on their primary vehicles.

The measure was approved unanimously this week by the House of Representatives and will next go to the governor for final approval. If made into law, the legislation will prohibit first-time DWI offenders from driving without first passing a breathalyzer test.

Ignition interlock devices do not allow a vehicle’s engine to start until the breathalyzer has been passed. Additionally, a Connecticut lawmaker said that new technology can ensure that the correct person is taking the breathalyzer in order to allow the engine to start.

Currently, those convicted of first-time DWI offenses in the state often choose to take an alcohol education program instead of having the ignition interlock devices installed. However, as drunk driving accidents continue to be a problem, lawmakers felt that stricter enforcement methods are needed.

In addition to facing criminal charges and penalties, drunk drivers who cause serious car accidents can also face civil liability in personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits.

Drunk driving accidents can change a victim’s life forever, and taking legal action often allows the victim or the victim’s family to move forward and heal. It can also provide victims with financial compensation for the damages and injuries that they sustained as a result of the accident.

In addition to pursuing legal action against the driver, it is also sometimes possible to file a dram shop liability claim against bars, restaurants or party hosts if the drunk driver had been over-served or was underage.

Source: The Associated Press, “Connecticut expands ignition interlock requirement for DUI offenders,” May 7, 2014

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