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Congress Considering Ignition Interlock Legislation

Ignition interlock is becoming an increasingly popular method for dealing with drunk drivers. Once an ignition interlock device is installed in a vehicle, the driver must submit a breath sample before starting the vehicle. If the device registers any alcohol in the sample, it will prevent the car from starting. Fifteen states in the U.S. require all drivers convicted of DUI install ignition interlock devices on any vehicles they will operate – even if is the DUI conviction was a first offense. Congress is currently considering a bill that would make ignition interlock even more common.

Details of Proposed Law

The House is currently reviewing the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act, a transportation spending bill. Part of the bill offers $25 million more in transportation funding to states that require all drivers convicted of DUI to use ignition interlock. Another provision of the bill would effectively require states to pass ignition interlock laws.

Congress does not have the authority to mandate that states require ignition interlock devices for those convicted of DUI. However, one of the ways that Congress encourages states to pass laws is to offer funding to states that do or to withhold money from states that refuse. One example is how Congress made transportation funding contingent on states lowering the legally allowable blood alcohol concentration for driving from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent. Congress is considering similar actions with ignition interlock.

Colorado’s Ignition Interlock Law

According to statistics from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Colorado has the second-highest ignition interlock use rate in the country, with about 17,000 devices in Colorado vehicles. Colorado has required ignition interlock use after first DUI offenses since 2009. Drivers convicted of a first DUI offense can be eligible for an ignition interlock restricted driver’s license after a 30-day suspension. The length of time the driver needs to have the device in his or her vehicle varies based on the driver’s BAC:

  • Eight months for a BAC of 0.08-0.16 percent
  • Two years for a BAC of 0.17 percent or higher

Consult a Lawyer

Colorado’s ignition interlock laws show how seriously authorities take drinking and driving. The state prosecutes such cases to the fullest extent possible. If you are facing DUI charges, contact an experienced traffic violations lawyer who can defend your rights.