The Senate Transportation Committee today approved legislation intended to reduce drunk driving offenses by making ignition interlock requirements mandatory for certain first time offenders with high blood alcohol levels, while at the same time reducing suspension requirements in certain lesser cases.
Senate Transportation Committee Chair John Rafferty (R-44), who sponsored Senate Bill 290, said the bill would apply an ignition interlock requirement of one year to first time drunk driving offenders with higher blood alcohol levels. Currently ignition interlocks only apply to second offenses.
Individuals who qualify could operate a vehicle during suspension and license restriction provided that they have an approved interlock device and meet other requirements.
“This legislation has widespread support from law enforcement groups, traffic safety organizations and Mothers Against Drunk Driving,” Rafferty said. “First time offenders are often serious offenders and research has shown that a substantial number will violate the terms of their license suspension and become repeat offenders.
He added similar laws are in place in 15 states and, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, recidivism rates have dropped by as much as 60 percent.
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