House passes ignition interlock bill

House passes ignition interlock bill

Breathalyzer devices could be installed in the vehicles of first time drunk driving offenders in Texas under proposed legislation.

Repeat offenders have used these devises for sometime now, but this bill would target first time offenders.

The ignition interlock system is connected to the car of drunk driving offender and each time they start their car, they would have to blow into the mouthpiece.

Supporters feel suspending a license of a first time DWI offender isn't good enough and offenders may drive after drinking any way.

Right now most DWI offenders pay a fine and are put on probation with a suspended license for about a year.

"The order would allow them to have an occupational license under this bill and they would only be able to operate one vehicle they we the device. Violation of those terms would potentially mean revocation of their probation and they would have to go to jail" says Scott Brumley, Potter County Attorney.

Some say installing a breathalyzer device doesn't mean offenders won't drink and drive.

"One of the concerns that we in the probation field have is that this bill is not going to prevent people from drinking and driving. It is going to prevent them from drinking and driving that car, many people have access to more than one vehicle" says Terry Easterling, Director, Community Supervision and Corrections Department Potter, Randall, and Armstrong Counties.

Easterling says many first-time DWI offenders are never arrested again.

So time and money may be better spent on repeat offenders.

"If we are having to put a lot of time and resources into supervising somebody that is in all likelihood never going to come back into the criminal justice system, then that takes away the time away to supervise the real high risk offenders, the assault offender and the sex offenders".

24 other states require these devises for all first-time offenders.