Being convicted of DUI may now carry penalties that you would have never expected. If you’ve read the news lately, it seems like breath alcohol ignition interlock devices are all the rage in terms of fighting drunk driving.
For those unsure what this device does, an ignition interlock is installed in the vehicle of a DUI offender and requires a person to blow into a breathalyzer in order for the car to start. If any or a certain amount of alcohol is detected, the car will not start. With that said, three states currently have ignition interlock legislation waiting to be signed by their respective governors.
Illinois and South Carolina have recently “turned over” ignition interlock legislation to Governors Rod Blagojevich and Mark Sanford, respectively. The Illinois legislation would require people with a first DUI offense to install an ignition interlock if they wanted to drive to work while their driver’s licenses were suspended.
A Springfield Journal Register story added that this legislation would apply to anyone who is pulled over on suspicion of DUI and fails or refuses a breath test. It is unknown whether Blagojevich will sign this legislation, but he has a little less than 60 days to do so.
Hours before the legislature adjourned for 2007, the South Carolina General Assembly passed legislation that would require repeat DUI offenders to pay for the installation of ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.
South Carolina was thinking about requiring ignition interlock devices for first-time extreme DUI offenders (with a BAC of 0.15 percent or more), but that measure garnered too much opposition.
Underage drinking would also be especially targeted in this current proposal headed to Governor Sanford’s desk. Specifically, police would be allowed to find out who bought kegs at parties where minors were drinking while minors would be allowed to buy alcohol during police stings of bars and liquor stores.
In Oregon, a bill that would require offenders with a first DUI to install ignition interlock devices for at least a year after they resumed driving is sitting on the desk of Governor Ted Kulongoski. Oregon currently requires first-time offenders to use ignition interlocks for six months after regaining their driving privileges.
In addition to this legislation, Governor Janet Napolitano signed legislation on May 18th that will now require all Arizona DUI offenders in the state to install ignition interlock devices for at least one year. A similar law was enacted in New Mexico in 2005.
This prevalence on the use of ignition interlock devices is another example of how legislators are constantly looking for new means to curb DUI and how DUI penalties nowadays are getting much more creative and far-reaching as compared to years past.