Colleen Sheehy-Church, the president of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), recently spoke at a conference sponsored by SmartStart, an ignition interlock company, requesting the use of ignition locks for vehicles of drivers who have been convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI).
MADD believes that Texas should change its DWI laws and require that first-time DWI offenders have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles.
Texas is one of 26 states that has not implemented this requirement on those who are convicted of DWI. MADD believes that the Texas laws are too lax and points out that the state leads the country in deaths by those who drive in an inebriated state. In 2013, there were 1,336 deaths caused by drunk driving. Disingenuously this is not a per capita number. MADD often misrepresents statistics to strengthen their position and arguments.
How Does The Ignition Interlock Device Work?
The ignition interlock devices are about the size of a cellular phone. The device is installed into the vehicle’s ignition. To drive the vehicle, the driver must blow into the device. If alcohol is not detected, the ignition will start. If the device determines the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is detectable, however, the ignition will not start. While operating the vehicle, the driver may need to submit more breath samples at random intervals.
This is to ensure the driver has not tried to circumvent the device by allowing another person to blow into it and start the car. The device keeps record of every use. Most new machines actually take a picture of the person as they blow into the device. If, while driving, the requested sample is not provided, the device will record the non-compliance. If alcohol is detected, the device will also record the detected BAC level, and an alarm will sound or disable the car.
Ignition Interlock Devices Are Used in Some Texas DWI Cases
Currently, Texas law only mandates the use of ignition interlock devices for drivers whose BAC was .15 or higher when arrested. A person convicted of DWI with a BAC of .15 or higher will be required to obtain the device as well as a restricted interlock license from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). DPS is notified of the court’s order and will suspend the driver’s driving privileges if the restricted interlock license is not obtained.
Obtaining an Ignition Interlock Device
If required to use an ignition interlock device, a driver must pay the required licensing fee of $10 and the required license reinstatement fee. Additionally, the device must be installed by a service center that has been certified by the DPS. The installation of the device can cost up to $200 for each car that will be driven by the restricted license driver. Additionally, there are monthly costs associated with the use of the device and monitoring. These costs can easily exceed $1,000 a year.
Get an Attorney
If you have been arrested and charged with DWI in the Houston area, the attorneys at The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates can help. We will examine your case and provide you with a solid defense.
Call us at (713) 802-1631 to schedule a consultation. The interlock device, unfortunately is just the beginning of the punishment MADD has in store for you as they work hand in hand with District Attorney Offices all over The State of Texas! Especially Galveston and Houston!