Bill Proposes all OWI Offenders Install Ignition Interlocks

Legislators in the Iowa House recently introduced a bill that would require anyone arrested for drunken driving to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. Iowa’s law currently states that first-time offenders, who were not involved in an accident and whose blood-alcohol level was between .08 and .10 at the time of the arrest, are not required to install ignition interlocks.

While this includes only a small number of drunken driving offenders, an annual review by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) ranked Iowa in the five weakest states for drunken driving laws. Iowa’s current interlock law contributed to the low ranking.

“Iowa has not had any significant overhaul of its law since 1995, and it shows,” MADD state government affairs director, Frank Harris stated.

One argument against the interlock bill is that requiring all drunken driving offenders to install ignition interlocks could prove to be a financial hardship for some. The current bill also includes the creation of an indigent fund – a fund that would be supplemented with taxpayer dollars.

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