Could ignition interlock devices become a mandatory part of all DWI convictions? That's what a new state bill from Dallas Representative Jason Villalba is proposing. MyFOXAustin reports that MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) has rallied behind the bill, titled HB 2246—which is also backed by dramatic DWI statistics from other states that have implemented similar laws.
Under current Texas law, ignition interlock devices, or IIDs, are only mandatory for repeat DWI offenders and drivers who were caught with a blood alcohol content percentage of .15 or more. However, activists and lawmakers all over the country are starting to say that these measures are not enough.
According to MADD, other states who have made IIDs mandatory for all DWI offenders, such as New Mexico and Arizona, have seen a significant decreases in drunk driving deaths. Along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the organizations offer the following statistics:
- Since mandatory IID laws, DWI deaths in Arizona have decreased 45%
- Since mandatory IID laws, DWI deaths in New Mexico have decreased 40%
- IIDs reduce all DWI repeat offenses by 67%
MyFOXAustin's report also notes that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identified 1,334 DWI-related deaths in Texas during 2013. If passed later this year, HB 2246 will make Texas the 25th state in the union to pass mandatory IID laws.
"Excessive" and "Not Necessary"
While tougher IID laws are becoming more and more common all over the U.S., not everyone supports them. MyFOXAustin spoke with a defense lawyer about HB 2246, who echoed the concerns of many in the criminal defense field: that laws are excessive, redundant, and unfair to drivers who have made one isolated mistake. Whether the bill passes or not, those accused of DWI offenses will continue to require vigilant legal representation to avoid undue penalties.
If you or a loved one have been charged with a DWI-related offense, then we invite you to explore your legal options with Alband, Lane & Balderama. Our dedicated Tarrant County DWI defense attorney is a former prosecutor who is well-versed in how the state processes and convicts those accused of crimes. Contact our firm to get this unmatched legal insight in your corner today.
Call to schedule a free case evaluation.