Houston, TX- Texas, not to be outdone by other states, leads the country in fatal drunken driving deaths, so there is a renewed push make ignition interlock devices mandatory for all DWI offenders in the state.
House Bill 2246, introduced by Representative Jason Villalba, would require that any person convicted of DWI to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle, according to KEYE-TV. These devices act as breathalyzers which keep a car from starting if the driver has a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit.
Under Texas’ current ignition interlock law, only first offender who cause a fatal accident or whose blood alcohol concentration exceeds .15.
Rep. Villalba has the support of Mothers against Drunk Drivers who has been successful at getting similar legislation passed in other states. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would also like to similar legislation passed nationwide.
Whether or not the bill will get the votes it needs to pass remains to be seen, but the country is moving towards tougher DWI/DUI laws.
But there are opposing voices, namely Sarah Longwell of the American Beverage Institute who regularly comes out against mandatory ignition interlocks for first time offender.
In an op-ed she penned for the Star-Telegram, Longwell wrote: “Rather than expanding the state interlock mandate to include marginal, first-time offenders, Texas should extend the period that an interlock is installed in the vehicles of hardcore and high-BAC offenders, and allocate more funding to ensure that they are actually complying with interlock orders.”
On some level Longwell is correct, ignition interlocks are not a cure-all for drunken driving in Texas or anywhere. But something needs to be done since drunken driving still accounts for a third of fatal truck accidents.
Too many people in this country have a casual attitude towards drunken driving, one that won’t be cured by ignition interlocks alone. But as David Smith, whose son Adam was killed by a drunken driver in 2006 explained to KEYE-TV, “It’s a strong preventative measure and it would also help to modify the behavior of the offender, they have to drive sober every time they drive and this device ensures that.”
Being arrested for a DWI is just the beginning of your legal troubles. After that the dominoes start to fall, you must enter your plea, your license will be suspended and you have a number of important decisions you need to make that will impact your future. Don’t make any of these important decisions until after you speak with a Houston DWI attorney. They will give you valuable advice and keep you from making any mistakes that could jeopardize your case.
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