The majority of the 50 states are currently in legislative session, with only Nevada and Texas not holding a regular session this year. Each year, several states examine their drunk driving and ignition interlock device laws in hopes of keeping our nation’s roads safes.
Intoxalock keeps pulse on legislation in every state that might affect the number of drunk drivers on the road. Let’s look at some of the legislation up for consideration this year.
Senate Bill 545 would require first-time DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device to regain their driving privileges and removes the option for a court to impose a license suspension without an ignition interlock device.
In addition, the bill would require ignition interlock device manufacturers to maintain either a paper of an electronic paper file. It also extends the law to require ignition interlock devices until January 1, 2027, and makes changes to reporting requirements to ensure consistency and conformity.
This bill is named the Matthew Klotzbach Mandatory Ignition Interlock for DUI Offender Act of 2019, which was introduced so that anyone convicted of drunk driving, including first-time offenders, would be required to install an IID. Currently, IIDs are optional for first-time offenders who are not involved in a crash.
Current Massachusetts law requires only multiple OUI (operating under the influence) to install ignition interlock devices to regain driving privileges during a license suspension. To decrease OUI convictions, bill S.2137 was introduced, which would require all OUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device as part of their OUI conviction.
Advocates are pushing for a stronger IID requirement, as the current law doesn’t prevent convicted offenders from getting behind the wheel. This bill is a huge step for Massachusetts in preventing drunk driving recidivism among those who have been convicted of an OUI.
The New York legislature introduced bill A07494/S05671 last year to amend the current ignition interlock device law. Under current law, DUI offenders can sit out their suspension by refusing to drive, but if enacted, this bill would require all offenders to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
If the offender does not have a vehicle, they are required to provide an affidavit to the court that declares they do not have a vehicle and will not drive a vehicle during their license suspension.
The bill also adds compliance-based removal, where an offender would be able to remove their IID device after a specified amount of time if they are free of any IID violations. The bill also would require any person who pleads guilty of drunk driving to install an ignition interlock device.
In South Carolina, first-time offenders are currently required to install an ignition interlock device only if they have a BAC of .15 or more. HB3300, if enacted, would require all drunk driving offenders to install an IID and removes the provisional license option. Offenders would have to enroll in the IID program to end their license suspension.
This bill also allows minor and out-of-state offenders to enroll in the IID program. This legislation would increase the number of people who are required to install an IID after being convicted of a drunk driving offense, which would help prevent drivers from getting behind the wheel after they’ve had too much to drink.
Senate Bill 384 would make several changes to how the ignition interlock device program is implemented in the state. Wisconsin is hoping to increase compliance with their ignition interlock device program. Currently, if a person is arrested for an OWI, their license is suspended for six months starting 30 days after they’ve been notified of the suspension.
If enacted, the bill would make it so people could earn day-for-day credit toward their license suspension by applying for an occupational license before the court has issued an IID order.
If a person is issued an occupational license with an IID restriction, they will receive credit toward satisfying their ignition interlock requirement when the court orders them to install a device. This would shorten the waiting period to install an IID and eliminate waiting periods to apply for an occupational license.
The bill would also ease restrictions about when, where and how a person can drive while they have an occupational license and an ignition interlock device. The bill would also increase penalties for tampering with or failure to install an IID.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been advocating for Wisconsin to strengthen their IID program, and this bill is one step in that direction. Their advocacy efforts have played a big role in writing this bill.
The Legislative Season
Watch for on-going updates to legislative initiatives. We'll be reporting out on any changes to local drunk driving and IID laws and regulations.