A three-month extension of the current Highway Bill passed the House last week, delaying movement on the proposal that calls for mandatory installation of ignition interlock devices in the vehicles of all drunk driving offenders. Three committees of the Senate also approved an 18-month extension; observers predict a compromise between the two extensions will result in action on the Highway Bill in the spring.
At present, ignition interlock is mandated for all drunk driving offenders in 27 states, and 11 states require the installation of the breathalyzer devices in the vehicles of first-time, low blood alcohol concentration (BAC) offenders.
Meanwhile, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed a bill in mid-September calling for ignition interlock installations in the vehicles of repeat offenders and first-time offenders with BAC in excess of 0.15 percent. The bill is supported by the Wisconsin Tavern League and also the American Beverage Institute; MADD and others are condemning it as inadequate.
Editor’s Note: In recent issues of NCB First Round, we reported that California is moving toward mandatory ignition interlock for all convicted DWI offenders with a pilot program beginning in four counties next summer; the bill will soon go before Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The legislative activity, coupled with testing of ignition interlock technologies by Toyota and other manufacturers, indicates that the movement to make such devices standard in all automobiles is gaining steam. The impact on the hospitality industry will be severe. Please learn more about ignition interlocks and speak out to your local legislators. Visit www.interlockfacts.com.