Invented in the 1970s, the interlock has been used in some form in most states, including California, since the 1980s. Although it has been found to lower the recidivism rate of drunk drivers considerably, judges typically have required it for only the most extreme repeat offenders.
When the bill to mandate the installation of interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers came before the New Mexico Legislature in 2005, Sen. Griego rose and praised the device.
Griego said he had been a drunk driver for years -- often daily. After he was convicted of his second DWI in 2001, a judge ordered him to install the device on his truck. The experience was embarrassing, he told his colleagues, but it kept him honest.
Today, there are about 9,000 interlocks in New Mexico.
Horace, who asked that his full name not be used so his boss wouldn't know of his convictions, said the interlock has been, more than anything, an inconvenience. He has learned, for example, that he must limit his drinking to six beers before midnight, lest the interlock pick up on any lingering alcohol on his breath when he tries to go to work in the morning.