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Ignition Interlock: Texas Enacts New Drunk Driving Laws

Written by Tom Crosley
Drunk Driving Accidents, Vehicle Wrecks

On September 1, 2015 Texas became the 25th state to enact a set of all-offender ignition interlock laws, known as HB 2246. Already in effect, HB 2246 mandates that any driver convicted of a DWI must install an ignition interlock system in their vehicle. This mandate is a change from the previous law, which required ignition interlock systems only for offenders whose blood alcohol content was over 0.15 percent. Offenders with a blood alcohol content under 0.15 percent had their licenses revoked, but many drove despite this restriction. The new interlock laws make such violations much less likely.

Ignition interlock systems are breathalyzers that require drivers to blow into them in order to start their vehicle. If drivers blow over the legal blood alcohol limit, their vehicle will not start. According to Guardian Interlock, a manufacturer of ignition interlock systems, these devices are sophisticated and difficult to bypass or “trick.” Anti-circumvention features include onboard cameras and cell phone recognition technology that deter drunk drivers from asking sober friends to blow into the device to start their vehicle. “Rolling re-tests” also randomly require drivers to blow into the device while driving.

Penalties for attempting to cheat ignition interlock systems are harsh, and probation officers in Texas receive top-rate training in ignition interlock security. Since 2011, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has sponsored a training program—Alcohol and Ignition Interlock Training for Texas Adult Probation Personnel, the first in the country—to assist probation officers in enforcing drunk driving laws and punishing probation violators.

All in all, HB 2246 promises to create safer Texas roads. According to MADD Texas Executive Director Jamie Gutierrez, ignition interlock systems have been highly effective in other states, reducing drunk driving deaths by 30 to 45 percent. This is great news for Texas, where 40% of traffic deaths are caused by drunk drivers each year.

While the number of drunk driving incidents may decrease with this new legislation, drunk driving remains a devastating problem in the state of Texas. This is an area of law that Crosley Law Firm takes a special interest in. We are experienced in prosecuting drunk drivers in civil court on behalf of injury victims. Crosley Law Firm is committed to protecting the rights of victims of drunk drivers, and we are eager to fight on your behalf. Please contact us at (877) 535-4529 for a free case review and consultation.

References: 

MADD. (2015, 23 June). Texas becomes 25th state to enact all-offender interlock law. MADD. Retrieved from http://www.madd.org/media-center/press-releases/2015/texas-becomes-25th-state-to.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/
Texas A&M University. (2014, 19 February). Probation officers received ignition interlock device, alcohol training. Texas A&M Transportation Institute. Retrieved from http://tti.tamu.edu/2014/02/19/probation-officers-receive-ignition-interlock-device-alcohol-training/

Wutke, S. (2015, 10 February). How can you bypass your interlock? Guardian Interlock. Retrieved from http://guardianinterlock.com/blog/can-bypass-ignition-interlock/

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