One Step Closer to Ignition Interlock

Drunken driving is one step closer to being minimized in the state of Florida. A bill that seeks to install ignition interlock devices on vehicles whose drivers have been convicted for DUI, just passed the first committee in the Florida House of Representatives.

Ignition interlock devices seek to prevent drivers from starting their vehicles when it detects the driver has been drinking. Under House Bill 949, these devices will be installed in vehicles of convicted DUI first offenders. HB 949 which was proposed by State Rep. Cord Byrd needs to go through two more committees before getting deliberated on the House Floor.

Once passed, Florida will be joining 28 other states with similar laws that will allow first offenders to erase their DUI conviction if they use ignition interlock devices for six months. These devices will discourage drivers from driving to and from happy hour for six months until their record is erased. One less conviction is good for motorists in case they have to go through character investigations during job applications or loans. Law enforcement gets to keep the records though in case of future offenses. Ignition interlock devices are mandatory for repeat offenders. The bill will also impose harsh penalties for drivers who commit another DUI after the program.

According to people in Jacksonville Beach, a place where happy hour is common due to the number of bars, the law is fair enough. The new law offers first offenders better opportunities and eliminate that often one-time mistake for known straight arrows. They believe that everyone deserves a second chance and not to carry that one and only DUI conviction for life.

To be eligible for the program, offenders cannot have a prior criminal history. Florida has about 9000 active interlock devices at any given time. Since the law has not been passed yet, that’s 9000 repeat offenders other motorists have to watch out for.

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