Ignition Interlock Device Bill Clears House Committee

DOVER – A House committee released legislation today that would require all people convicted of driving under the influence to install ignition interlock devices in the vehicles they drive.

Sponsored by Reps. Helene M. Keeley and Steve Smyk and Sen. David McBride, House Substitute 1 for House Bill 212 builds on a 2011 law that increased penalties for multiple DUIs and required ignition interlock devices (IIDs) for all offenders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or more. The new bill would require all DUI offenders to install IIDs in their vehicles. It also requires the use of the IID for a minimum of four months for a first offense. A person who elects the First Offender’s Program would be immediately eligible for an IID license upon installation of the device.

“Fighting drunk driving is an ongoing battle, one I have been involved in for at least a decade. I have sponsored bills creating the ignition interlock system and toughening penalties for repeat DUI offenders,” said Rep. Keeley, D-Wilmington South. “The ultimate goal is to keep drunk drivers off the road. The facts show that ignition interlock devices work to reduce drunk driving recidivism, and fewer drunk drivers mean fewer drunk driving fatalities. I am hopeful that we can pass this bill and continue to protect motorists from impaired drivers.”

Rep. Keeley noted that the bill cuts down the license revocation period and allows first offenders to have the interlock device installed immediately rather than having to wait for a conditional license to be issued. Even though they’ve made a mistake, she said, this would enable people to continue their daily lives while protecting the public from drunk driving.

In 2012, more than 10,000 people were killed in DUI-related accidents nationwide, with 34 in Delaware. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), requiring or highly incentivizing interlocks for all offenders are proven effective to reducing drunk driving recidivism by 67 percent.

Currently, 22 other states have all-offender IID statutes, including California, Kansas, Mississippi, Virginia and New York. Arizona and Oregon have seen respective 43 and 42-percent drops in their drunk driving fatalites since passing all-offender IID laws.

HS 1 for HB 212 now goes to the full House for consideration.