DUI charge would mean ignition lock under new bill

In this Jan. 3, 2006 file photo, Massachusetts State Police Lt. Paul Maloney holds an ignition interlock device outside Boston's State House. (AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye, File)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — People charged with drunken driving in Connecticut could soon be required to install blood-alcohol testers in their vehicles, even if they’ve never been convicted.

A bill that awaits the governor’s signature requires first-time offenders to pay to have an ignition interlock device linked to their vehicle’s ignition system.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving says the legislation closes a gaping loophole in Connecticut’s law by requiring thousands more offenders to use the devices. The group contends they are more effective at combating drunken driving than license suspensions.

Currently, in Connecticut and 21 other states, laws require ignition interlocks after a first conviction for driving under the influence. But in Connecticut and some other states, first-time offenders can have their records erased after completing steps such as alcohol education.

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