The State Senate today approved legislation that is aimed at reducing drunk driving offenses by expanding ignition interlock requirements for certain first time offenders.
Senate Transportation Committee Chair John Rafferty (R-44) offered an amendment to House Bill 1357 that would apply an ignition interlock requirement of one year to first time drunk driving offenders with higher blood alcohol levels. Currently ignition interlocks only apply to second offenses.
Individuals who qualify could operate a vehicle during suspension and license restriction provided that they have an approved interlock device and meet other requirements.
“This legislation has widespread support from law enforcement groups, traffic safety organizations and Mothers Against Drunk Driving,” Rafferty said. “First time offenders are often serious offenders and research has shown their rate of recidivism is generally similar to a repeat offender.”
He added that states requiring all convicted drunk drivers to use an ignition interlock, such as Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico and Louisiana, have reduced their DUI deaths by more than 33 percent.