Last month, we discussed new legislation proposed by Texas lawmakers that would increase the penalties for drunk driving. If passed, the proposal would permanently revoke the licenses of anyone who had been convicted of five or more DWIs. At the same time, lawmakers were also considering implementing a law that would require anyone convicted of driving while intoxicated, even first-time offenders, to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle.

An ignition interlock device is a type of sobriety test similar to a Breathalyzer. A person blows into the device, and if their blood alcohol level is .08 or under, the car will start. If their blood alcohol level is over .08, the driver will not be able to start their vehicle. Members of the Texas House are expected to vote on the ignition interlock legislation this morning.

Currently, Texas law only calls for those who have been convicted of drunk driving multiple times or people who had a blood alcohol level of .15 to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. If the bill were to be passed, everyone convicted of drunk driving, including first-time offenders, would have the device installed in their vehicle.

While some support the bill, saying it will be an effective way to significantly decrease the number of drunk driving-related car accidents, others are skeptical.

Those who have expressed doubts say that installing ignition interlock devices would only be a small obstacle for drunk drivers. They say DWI offenders could easily have someone else blow into the device for them, so the vehicle would start no matter what their level of intoxication.

In a different light, some say that the ignition interlock devices do not go far enough. One individual suggests that jail time and license revocation are the only ways to combat drunk driving. It will be interesting to see how the House votes on the bill this morning.

Source: KDAF-TV, "Texas House Working to Stop Repeat DWI Offenders," Amber Fisher, 7 May 2011