Iowa adding camera requirement to cars that won’t start without breathalyzer test

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa soon will require that ignition interlocks have cameras so drivers required to take breath tests don't have other people start the drivers' vehicles.

The vehicles would still start, but the drivers could lose their restricted driver's licenses and be charged with crimes after the ignition interlock company notifies the state that other people blew into the devices.

"That falls into the category of tampering or circumventing the device," said Melissa Spiegel, the Iowa Transportation Department's director of motor vehicles.

Most nearby states already have the camera requirement, Patrick Hoye, chief of the governor's Traffic Safety Bureau, told The Des Moines Register .

All repeat drunken driving offenders are required to install interlock devices in Iowa. First-time offenders must install the devices if their blood alcohol figures were higher than 0.10 when they were arrested or if they were involved in accidents.

At least eight times since 2009, Iowa lawmakers have proposed strengthening the state's interlock laws by requiring all drunken-driving offenders to install the devices on their vehicles. The legislation failed to gain traction.

"There were so many pieces to those bills that it was too much for everyone to absorb," Spiegel said.

The offenders will pay an addition $15 per month — $75 total — for ignition interlock devices with cameras, officials said. The camera requirement is expected to be in place by July.

Most drunken-driving offenders must wait at least 30 days before they can obtain temporary restricted driver's licenses, which allow driving only to and from work.

The Transportation Department said there were 89 alcohol-related crash fatalities in Iowa in 2016. The 2017 number isn't yet available.

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