A new piece of federal legislation could help reduce the incidence of drunk driving accidents further. It would require all 50 states to pass laws that require the installation of ignition interlock devices for all drunk driving offenders. Failure to comply could lead to a reduction in the highway transportation funds that the state is eligible for.
The legislation has been proposed by Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (Democrat-New York) who says that even a first-time DUI offense is one time too many. According to the plan that she has proposed, all first-time DUI offenders must be required to install an ignition interlock device in all of their vehicles. States must pass laws that include this requirement. States that do not do so before the deadline will be eligible for a reduction in highway transportation funds. The deadline for complying with the legislation is October 1.
The beverage lobby, as expected, has spoken out against the proposal. According to the American Beverage Institute, the real problem drinkers, like binge drinkers, will not really be targeted under the law.
The fact is that many drunk driving accidents caused in the United States every year are caused by repeat offenders. When a person is able to get away with a mere slap on the wrist the first time that he is arrested for DUI, he is just more likely to drive under the influence, placing his life and other motorists’ lives in danger. California currently has a program in four counties, in which even first-time DUI offenders are required to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. The program was kicked off in 2010, and under the program, even persons arrested for the first time for DUI are required to get the devices installed. The devices measure the amount of alcohol content in a person’s breath, and if the amount exceeds a certain limit, will prevent the vehicle from starting.