There is a new law in effect in Nevada that requires all drivers who have been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol to install an ignition interlock device in their cars. As of Monday, October 1, any driver who has been pulled over for reckless driving and has registered with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher will be required to use one of the devices for six months.
Previously, drunk drivers were only required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle if their BAC was over 0.18, or if this was their second (or subsequent) drunk-driving conviction. During sentencing, judges also had the option of requiring the installation of an ignition interlock for someone with a first-time DUI who had a measured BAC between 0.08 and 0.17, but it was not required.
This new law will affect over 1,500 drivers every year who are convicted of drunk driving within the state of Nevada. This includes every individual who is convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, whether or not it is their first offense.
The word “breathalyzer” is a kind of portmanteau, a mash-up of the words “breath” and “analyzer.” The devices have been used for many years to measure a suspected drunk driver’s BAC during traffic stops and in other contexts. An ignition interlock device is essentially a breathalyzer that locks a car’s ignition until the driver blows into the device. Once the driver passes the initial breathalyzer, the car will start. This prevents drivers with BACs above 0.08 from starting their cars and thereby putting themselves and other drivers in danger. In theory, it should also prevent the driver from receiving a second drunk driving offense.
Some states require “rolling tests” as well as the initial breathalyzer test. A rolling test will prompt the driver to blow into the device after the car has been moving for several minutes. If the driver fails the rolling test, the car will flash its lights and sound the horn until the driver pulls over and turns the engine off. To restart the vehicle, the driver must pass the breathalyzer again by registering a BAC below 0.08.
A convicted drunk driver is responsible for installing the ignition interlock device in his or her own vehicle. They have fourteen days to comply with the order. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (commonly known as MADD) estimates that it costs between $70 and $150 to install an ignition interlock device, and between $60 and $80 a month to monitor and calibrate the device. 
Ignition interlock devices are an important tool in the fight against auto fatalities. According to the CDC, 29 people die every day in the United States because of an accident involving and alcohol-impaired driver.  A recent study by Johns Hopkins University found that ignition interlock devices reduce drunk driving fatalities by 15% and that ignition interlock devices are more effective than driver license suspension alone. 
This law makes Nevada one of 29 “all offender” states. An all offender state is one in which any individual arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol is required to install an ignition interlock device. Other all offender states include Arizona, Utah, and Oregon. MADD is pushing for similar legislation nation-wide to help reduce the number of alcohol-related automobile accidents. 
Did you Know: Benson & Bingham was selected as a Best of Las Vegas Winner in the category lawyers by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the city’s longest running reader’s choice awards.