Since Dec. 1, anyone convicted of DWI in the Garden State must install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle in an effort to keep them from drinking and driving again.

The new law includes all DWI offenders, but it eliminates suspended license penalties for first-time offenders when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) registers between 0.08% and 0.10%.

How do IIDs work?

Ignition interlocks are, in effect, a breath test the driver must pass each time they attempt to drive their vehicle. The driver blows into a tube, which measures their BAC level. The car will not operate if the level is over 0.05%. Even after the vehicle is moving, the device will periodically prompt the person to blow into the tube again to guard against anyone trying to cheat the system.

Law targets repeat and highly-intoxicated offenders

First-time offenders whose BAC registers between 0.08% and 0.10% must use an IID for three months. Those whose BAC is 0.10% to 0.15% must use the device for seven months to one year. They can also have their license suspended for nine to 15 months if their BAC is above 0.15%

Using an IID can be a costly process as the installation of the device must be done by a professional and can run up to $150, while additional monthly leasing and maintenance fees can cost $60 to $80.

Police target drunk drivers during the holidays

New Jersey’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is part of a nationwide effort to reduce impaired drivers during the holidays, which are the most heavily-traveled times of the year. More than one out of every five traffic fatalities in the Garden State are alcohol-related.

Drunk drivers cause thousands of crashes each year, which can result in death as well as permanent or long-lasting consequences for victims. They or their families may be entitled to compensation. The New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety says officers will be out in force during the holiday season.