Finally, a Federal Ignition Interlock Law For All DUI Offenses?

Ignition interlock devices have a presence of some sort in almost every state in the USA. Some states mandate an ignition interlock — which prevents a car from starting if the driver has been drinking — only for a serious DUI offense. Others leave it up to the judge’s discretion. And half of the US states now require interlocks for all DUI offenses.US-Interlock-Law-Map2

This may change if US Representative Nita Lowey has her way. Lowey (D-NY) presented a bill for a federal law which would require all states to install an ignition interlock for six months on the vehicles of drunk driving offenders. “We know interlocks work,” she stated, “and it’s time for every state to adopt this lifesaving measure.”

The Federal Government could not force the states to comply with the new law, but it could withhold federal highway funds from those states which did not follow the law. The US government has used this tactic to raise the minimum age for purchasing alcohol to 21, to lower the legal Ignition interlock device is a successful anti-DUI technologylimit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to .08, and to encourage seat-belt laws.

Lowey’s bill is called “Alisa’s Law” after the daughter of MADD president Jan Withers. Alisa Joy Withers was killed by a drunk driver at the age of fifteen. MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) strongly supports the law, which they say is “the next major step towards a nation without drunk driving.”

No one knows just what it will take to wipe out drunk driving, but since ignition interlocks are proven to reduce fatalities, there is no doubt that the passage of Alisa’s Law on a federal level could have an immense impact on road safety in America.