Monroe County Executive Adam Bello Announces Enhanced Enforcement and Public Information Campaign on DWI Ignition Interlock Devices

July 26th, 2023


Aiding someone to circumvent devices is breaking the law

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Monroe County Executive Adam Bello today announced a crackdown on those convicted of DWI who fail to install or circumvent a court-ordered ignition interlock device (IID). Several studies in New York show a significant lack of compliance in both installing and using an IID by those required by law to do so. A $35,000 grant from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee is supporting the effort.

An IID device is installed on a car’s ignition and requires the operator to give a breath sample before the vehicle will start. If the breath sample is above a pre-set alcohol limit, the IID prevents the driver from starting the car.

“Public safety is job one of government. DWI continues to claim or severely alter lives in every corner of the county. Not installing a court-ordered IID or knowingly circumventing the device is breaking the law and puts every one of us at risk,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, RPD and Monroe County Probation are partnering to step up enforcement. Thank you to the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee for helping fund this effort.”

“This important initiative in Monroe County is a great example of the ways in which the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee is supporting critical highway safety projects across the state,” said Mark Schroeder, Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Chair and Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner. “It is our mission to make New York’s roads safer and to ultimately save lives, and I believe this project will help us do that. Impaired driving remains one of the most dangerous driving behaviors and contributes to so many serious and fatal crashes. Together, with partners like Monroe County, we can reduce the number of these tragedies, and protect all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians in our communities.”

Monroe County Probation is the lead agency for the grant but will work closely with the Sheriff’s Office and RPD on the enhanced enforcement.

“Drinking and driving is a recipe for disaster,” said Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter. “The combination puts lives at risk and is criminal. In the event an Ignition Interlock Device is ordered by the Courts, it is crucial that drivers install the device on their vehicle to prevent themselves from getting behind the wheel of a car drunk. We will be steadfast in enforcing the laws that hold violators accountable.”

“Every year we continue to lose members of our community to those who chose to drive drunk,” said Rochester Police Chief David Smith. “This increase in funding towards enforcement and education regarding ignition interlock devices is one more step to stopping those who choose to drink and drive.”

Currently, County Probation is notified by our IID vendor every time a court ordered device is installed in a vehicle. Every three months, Monroe County Probation checks the DMV for every person who is required to have an IID to ensure they have not registered any vehicles which would require an IID.

If anyone is found to have a car registered or titled in their name, the Court is notified and that person will be returned to court. Each quarter, about 20 individuals are found not to have installed a device, which triggers a violation of probation and they are returned to court.

There are 1,520 individuals in Monroe County who are ordered to have an IID installed in any vehicle that they operate. Of those, 223 have IIDs installed. The remainder are either required to sell or take their vehicle off the road or do have vehicles registered to them.

In practice, some of the individuals who are convicted of DWI continue to drive using vehicles which are registered to friends or family members. Driving without an IID against a court order and helping someone drive without a court ordered IID, are Class A misdemeanors punishable by up to 1 year in jail.

In addition to the enhanced enforcement, a social media campaign “Don’t Enable DWI” will begin next week. The campaign focuses on those who either help defeat IID devices or bypass their use by providing their private automobiles for use to those required to have an IID.

Monroe County Probation has been awarded up to $35,000 of funding under the Ignition Interlock Device Non-Installer Enforcement Program (IIDEP). The funding is provided by a federal Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee grant and passed through the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).

Monroe County was selected to participate in the IID Non-Installer Enforcement Program following review of data provided by the DCJS Office of Justice Research and Performance (OJRP) including the number of DWI arrests, DWI convictions, IID’s ordered by the courts and installed, and the number of infractions recorded by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).