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NTSB recommends interlocks for all DWI convictions

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BATON ROUGE - The National Transportation Safety Board recommends all states require ignition interlock devices for convicted drunk drivers, including first time offenders.

In the last three years, over 1,500 first time offenders in East Baton Rouge have been stopped for drunk driving. The offense is an automatic misdemeanor, but the DA's office offers a voluntary diversion program to erase the charges. Part of the program requires six months with an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle.

The device requires a sober breath to start the car, and periodically performs random checks while the driver is operating the vehicle.

Interlock for drunk drivers is law in 17 states. In Baton Rouge, the device is not mandatory, but leads to a successful recovery of the offender.

"The thing they like least is the Interlock," said Pre-Trial Services Director Dusty Guidry. "It's the biggest deterrent. Some of them go on to explain, 'I understand why I have to have it, and I appreciate the fact that I did have it.'"

Right now, the Interlock requirement is only a recommendation. NTSB does not have solid plans to move forward with a vote at this time.

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