Interlock ignition systems costly for DUI offenders

      By Ava Wilhite

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) {}They're not new in the state of South Carolina, but if a new law is passed, interlock ignition programs could triple in number. Right now, the devices are offered through the state's Probation, Pardon and Parole office.

      But Emma's Law would require them to be installed for certain DUI offenders.

      The life saver ignition system looks easy enough to operate. You blow into it, then wait and then if you're legal, you can start the ignition.

      Dale Wright is the owner of American Tire and installs the ignition devices here in the Low Country.

      "It's a lot of work, there's a lot of maintenance, there is a lot of information that the client has to understand and there are rules, life saver rules they have to abide by," said Wright. {}

      Wright started providing the Lifesaver service five years ago and has since made it his mission to assist people through the program, but if they have a setback, it will cost them.

      "You blow a fail that's a violation, which is going log to your service and your lock out light will come on flashing, which means you have five days to bring it back, get it reset, pay a violation for that alcohol level and then go on with life," said Wright. {}

      He says the court appointed offender will pay $116 a month for the service alone. If passed, Emma's Law could triple business, but he's in it for something more than money.

      "Nobody likes the devices, but I hear a lot of the clients tell me that this has really kind of changed their life for the better," said Wright.

      Local Mother's Against Drunk Driving advocates agree the bill will stop repeat offenders.

      {}"If they have that interlock the very first time, that's going to make them think and they will probably never do it again and then we won't have repeat offenders and have to worry about whose out there doing it again and again and possibly killing someone," said Lindalee Strain, an advocate for MADD.