Ignition Interlock: Rethinking Texas DWI Penalties, Part 2

Our last post talked some more about ignition interlock devices. House Bill 260 is still working its way through the legislature but it could impose ignition interlock devices on all Texans who receive a DWI conviction. While this proposal has some safety benefits and apparently would prevent a number of DWIs, it is not clear whether these pros justify the measure.

Texas news sources talked to one popular ignition interlock installation company. That company released its device logs. According to these records, ignition interlock devices reported 600 million sober car starts. The devices also prevented 7 million starts when a driver failed the breath test.

This statistic points to the big benefit that many Texans believe justifies imposing them on defendants: it makes more sense to prevent drunk driving than to punish DWIs after they have occurred.

Under the law as it currently stands in Texas, some defendants must install interlock devices as one part of their sentence-but only if they registered more than .15 blood alcohol content. Under the new proposed law, each and every Texan who receives a DWI conviction would need to install an ignition interlock device. This includes first offense DWIs.

Source: KXAN.com, "Reports show breathalyzers in cars work," Angie Beavin, Mar. 26, 2013 

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