Costs of MD’s ignition interlock program still unknown

But since the governor is a Republican in a Democratic state, I’m gonna take a wild guess and say a donor will get rich off this expansion:

Governor Hogan recently signed a bill to expand Maryland’s ignition interlock program. This program requires a breathalyzer device to be installed in the car of a person who is convicted of a DUI. When the driver provides a breath sample and the device detects alcohol, then the car will not start, effectively preventing DUI recidivism while it is installed.

Previously, the program only applied to those convicted of having a blood-alcohol-concentration of 0.15 or higher. The new changes have now made this option available to individuals with a blood alcohol concentration in the .08-.15 range. First time, DUI offenders will be allowed to keep their full licenses if they participate in the program for 45 days. The governor views this expansion as a tool to help to the community, since it will prevent those convicted of a DUI from losing their driving privileges while keeping the roads safe.

However, there is a downside to the ignition interlock program—the costs associated with the installation and testing of the device are quite steep. A person will have to pay a $150 installation cost, monthly maintenance fees, and reporting fees. A person who is forced to have an ignition interlock device installed for a year may end up spending $1,100-$1,200 dollars in total.  This is a great deal of money for a person who has already had to pay court fees, increased insurance premiums and in some cases attorney fees.

Along with the financial commitment to the program, there comes a time commitment. When the ignition interlock device overrides a person’s vehicle, this may a trip to a certified facility to get the device reset. In addition, individuals must return to the installation facility monthly in order to have the interlock device breath sample records recorded. This information will then be submitted to the MVA for review.

According to Edward Tayter, an attorney practicing DUI law in Maryland, “it is unclear whether the expansion of the ignition interlock program will affect either installation or maintenance costs in the short- or long-run. One thing, however, is for certain—more Maryland residents than ever will be taking advantage of this program in the near future.”