New Federal Legislation Would Require Ignition Interlock Devices for All DUI Offenders

The House of Representatives is soon expected to introduce new legislation that would require that all states order DUI offenders to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles for a minimum of six months.

The bill will be introduced by Representative Nita Lowey (Democrat-New York) who says that drunk driving costs the American economy approximately $132 billion each year. According to the Congresswoman’s statement, more than 10,000 people die in accidents caused by intoxicated motorists.

The legislation would mandate that all 50 states require that all convicted DUI offenders in their states, even those convicted for first-time offenses, get ignition interlock device installed in all their vehicles. States that do not pass such a law would be punished by a cut in federal transportation funding. The deadline for states to change their laws is October 1, 2014. The new legislation is called Alisa’s law, named after a driver who died in an accident involving an intoxicated underage motorist back in 1992.

California currently has a DUI pilot program that covers 30 million people, and mandates even first-time DUI offenders to get an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. If the California program is found to be successful in helping reduce the number of DUI accidents, it could actually be expanded to cover the state. Many anti-drunk driving groups have recommended interlock devices as a way of reducing drunk driving accident fatalities, and in some states, those rates have dropped by more than 40% since the devices were mandated.

Laws like this mean that you will not get off lightly with minimum penalties even for a first-time DUI conviction. Installing an interlock device is expensive, and installing and maintaining the device in all of the vehicles can be costly for you.