At first glance it looks like New Jersey has had a set back in their quest for an all offender ignition interlock law. But if you dig a little deeper, it appears that Chris Christie isn’t against ignition interlocks at all – he just doesn’t want the state to lose their tough stance on drunk driving.
The ignition interlock bill that hit Christie’s desk was passed by the state Senate with a vote of 29-4, and it would have allowed the majority of drunk drivers in the state to reduce a first time driver’s license suspension from a period of 3 to 7 months to only 10 days. In lieu of the suspension, the drivers would have been required to install an ignition interlock device instead, something only first time offenders with blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) over .15 are now required to do.
Instead of approving the bill as it stands, Christie has conditionally vetoed it, and the reason why has everything to do with New Jersey’s current driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws. He called the new bill too ‘sweeping and lenient’ and he’s been quoted as saying he’s skeptical that giving first offenders a shorter driver’s license suspension will keep drinking drivers off the roads. He’d rather see a combination of the current strict laws with the use of ignition interlocks for all offenders.
Proponents of the bill aren’t impressed with the veto – they proposed the shorter driver’s license suspension so drivers charged with DWI would be able to get back on the road and driving to work quickly thanks to the ignition interlock.
For both sides to get on the same page, some work needs to be done on this bill, but it’s encouraging that the use of ignition interlocks are the one thing both sides can agree will make New Jersey’s roads safer.