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Texas Ignition Interlock Law

May 28, 2015

Texas Ignition Interlock Law

What is the new Texas IID Law all about?

The new Texas Ignition Interlock Law, also known as the IID Law (House Bill 2246 – Text Here) requires the use of Ignition Interlock device for all DUI convictions. It also mandates counseling as punishment as a result of Ignition Interlock Device violations.

Stiff Penalties for DUI

Adults of legal drinking age who are convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) face stiff penalties, even on their first conviction. Beyond the court fees, fines, and attorney fees the convicted individual must also attend Alcohol Education Classes and face suspension of their driver license for up to 2 full years. The new bill that has been introduced by Rep. Jason Villalba will also require the use of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on all offenses.

Ignition Interlock Devices Save Lives

Dawn Bevan, a representative from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is supportive of the law. According to MADD, Texas leads the nation in drunk driving fatalities. “Interlock devices are proven to prevent drunk driving repeatedly,” Bevan said. “It’s proven if a driver is required to have an interlock device that it prevents them from re-offending.”

Even so, the bill does have it’s critics, namely the American Beverage Institute who don’t believe requiring interlock devices for all offenders will work. They say that only 20-30% of ignition interlock users comply with the law so it doesn’t make sense to expand those laws. The representative, Sara Longwell, went on to say, “Overall fatalities on the roadways are dropping and largely that has to do with the fact that gas was so expensive for many years that people started to drive a lot less. So fatalities overall are down. Correspondingly also a decline in alcohol related fatalities however there is nothing that proves this correlation between this type of offender law and a decline in alcohol related fatalities.”

“Similar laws just to the west in New Mexico and Arizona, Ignition Interlock Laws have helped to reduce drunk driving deaths by over 40%.”

House Bill Details

The specific section of the Texas law that is being amended is Section 521.202.

Sec. 521.202. INELIGIBILITY FOR LICENSE BASED ON CERTAIN CONVICTIONS.

  • (a) Unless the period of suspension that would have applied if the person held a license at the time of the conviction has expired, the department may not issue a license to a person convicted of an offense:
    • (1) described by Section 49.04, 49.07, or 49.08, Penal Code; or
    • (2) to which Section 521.342(a) applies.
  • (b) Until the period specified in the juvenile court order has expired, the department may not issue a license to a person if the department has been ordered by a juvenile court under Section 54.042, Family Code, to deny the person a license.
  • (c) A person does not have a privilege to operate a vehicle in this state during a period of suspension under Subsection (a) or   (b) if the department is prohibited from issuing a license to that person.
  • (d) Notwithstanding Subsection (a) or (b), if a person is otherwise eligible, the department may issue an ignition interlock license to a person during the period of suspension.

 Mothers Against Drunk Driving Applauds the New Bill

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) strongly supports HB 2246 sponsored by Rep. Jason Villalba, which will require ignition interlock devices IIDs for a minimum of 90 days for anyone convicted of driving under the influence/driving while intoxicated; presuming their Blood Alcohol Content was greater than .08.

MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church stated, “A law requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers is desperately needed in Texas. Texas leads the country in deaths caused by a drunk driver. Ignition interlocks save lives, and it’s time for Texas to expand the reach of its interlock law to help end this violent, preventable crime.”

Ignition Interlock Devices sure seem to reduce the fatality rate. Texas loses almost 4 people a day to drunk driving related accidents according to the most recent statistics available from 2013. The total number of fatalities due to drunk driving was 1,337, which is the highest in the nation. Similar laws just to the west in New Mexico and Arizona, Ignition Interlock Laws have helped to reduce drunk driving deaths by over 40%. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, ignition interlocks reduce repeat offenses by 67 percent when compared with license suspensions. The CDC recommends widespread use of ignition interlocks, including for first-time offenders.

State of Texas Information

Access to the new legislation, the Texas Department of Safety Ignition Interlock Program, and more can be found below:

Texas Ignition Interlock (IID) Program Details – Link to Texas DPS Website

Text of the Texas Law Here

Texas Department of Public Safety Website

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