Legislature Seeking to Require Ignition Interlock for All DWI Offenders

Currently, the ignition interlock device is required for repeat offenders or a first-time offender when the alcohol concentration was twice the legal limit. The device is installed in the vehicle, which prevents it from being operated unless and until the driver blows into the device to show that he/she does not have an alcohol concentration in excess of .02. If there is alcohol detected above this limit, the vehicle will not operate.

Lawmakers are now attempting to make the ignition interlock device the only way any DWI offender can drive while their license is revoked following a DWI. This means that even first-time offenders with an alcohol concentration of .08 must get the ignition interlock device installed if they intend to drive for the maximum 90-day revocation period. It’s another stiff penalty in what is already a scheme that is designed to severely punish DWI offenders with expensive and long-lasting collateral consequences.

Studies cited in the published article seem to support the notion that the ignition interlock device is effective in curtailing future impaired driving. While that may be true, a first-time offender with a low reading doesn’t necessarily mean said person has an alcohol problem and is likely to get back behind the wheel while impaired. A limited license limits these offenders with when and where they can drive. And, in lieu of this limited license, the ignition interlock device is still an alternative option.

With that being said, if, according to legitimate studies, this extra step will truly make the roads safer, we understand the motives and actions by our lawmakers.