Defensive Driving Blog

New Law in Time for Labor Day

“Lone Star State” is not the only new law that went into effect on September 1st.  Long considered the state’s nickname, it was made official in this last session of the Texas Legislation. Also signed into law was House Bill 2246 aimed at stopping repeat drunk driving offenses, just in time for the holiday weekend.

This law, signed by Governor Abbott on June 19, requires that before driving privileges can be restored to a drunk driving offender they must install an ignition interlock on their vehicle.  This bill also gives judges the discretion whether to allow offenders to use the devices.

interlock interlock2

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 40% of all Texas traffic deaths are caused by a drunk driver. In 2013, 1,337 people were killed by drunk drivers in Texas, making it the leader in drunk driving deaths that year in the country. The law requires the interlock be installed for first time offenders with a BAC of .08 or greater if they want to continue to drive after a DWI arrest during license suspension. Drivers arrested for DWI apply for an interlock 15 days after the arrest or just choose not to drive. The interlock restricted license period is at least 90 days for first time offenders and 180 days for repeat offenders.

Previously the law allowed DWI offenders who were arrested to get a non-interlock restricted license following an arrest.  There is great hope that this new measure will reduce the number of offenders that re-offend thus reducing the number of deaths due to drunk driving. MADD is in support of the use of ignition interlocks for all offenders because license suspension has been shown to be difficult to enforce and is often ignored. This law will help protect the public while allowing offenders to continue to be able to get to work and fulfill other obligations.

On this Labor Day weekend stay mindful of the fact that there will be drivers on the road who have had too much to drink. Drive defensively and for more information on drinking and driving and its impact, log on to WirelessDefensiveDriving.com.

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