Ignition Interlocks Will Soon Feature Cameras to Monitor Convicted Drunk Drivers

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Iowa is looking to make a change to the ignition interlock system used to monitor Iowans convicted of drunk driving.

The Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau hopes that by July all new ignition interlocks will be required to have a built-in camera.

“There is a possibility that someone other than the intended person is actually blowing into the device and starting it,” said GTSB Chief Patrick Hoye.

The camera wouldn't prevent the car from starting, but it would send the picture back to the DOT, and the driver could then face a fine and potential criminal charges.

“Twenty other states already require this, so it's not new technology, we're just trying to enhance the current ignition interlock system here in the state of Iowa,” said Hoye.

The system would cost the driver an additional $15 a month for the upgraded technology, but those approximately 5,700 Iowans who already have theirs installed would be grandfathered into the old rule. The new total cost will be $75 a month for the interlock.

A coalition for impaired driving prevention came up with the suggestion. One of those on coalition is the Iowa Restaurant Association, which says it's supporting the measure.

“We're the only industry that's really held responsible for other people's behavior. So anything that's a tool that will help people be responsible for their own behavior, we're normally in support of,” said Association President and CEO Jessica Dunker.

The GTSB says this additional technology will not cost taxpayers any extra money, as the increased cost would be placed solely on the convicted driver.

The new rule is considered an administrative change, and while they need to follow the proper procedures and hold a public comment period, the change does not need any type of legislative consent.

The Iowa DOT says at this point there is no state-funded relief program for those drivers who can’t afford the monthly cost of the interlocks.