Ignition Interlock Instead of Suspension

Too many families in Texas have felt the unspeakable pain of losing a loved one due to a drunk driving accident. Texas has the highest number of drunk driving deaths in the nation, with 1,337 deaths reported in 2013 alone. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 40% of all traffic deaths in our state are caused by a drunk driver. This is grim news, but there is hope. The Texas Senate has unanimously passed HB 2246, which offers first-time DWI offenders the option to install an ignition interlock in their vehicle for 90 days to one year, rather than have their license suspended. The ignition interlock works like a breathalyzer, and will prevent a vehicle from starting if the operator has been drinking. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the passing of this bill is great news for several reasons:

  • Several states that have implemented interlock device laws have seen drunk driving accidents drop by 30-45%
  • The interlock device allows first-time offenders to continue with their daily responsibilities, such as driving to work and taking care of family obligations
  • License suspensions alone are hard to enforce, and a license suspensions do not necessarily keep drunk drivers off the roads. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ignition interlocks reduce drunk driving recidivism by 67% when compared with license suspension alone

“The science and data show that ignition interlocks save lives by preventing the careless and dangerous decision to drive drunk,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church. “Passing this bill could spare so many families the agony of losing someone to this completely preventable crime.”

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