Governor Signs a Nice, Tight Kansas Ignition Interlock Law.

 In Laws

tightening - the Kansas ignition interlock lawIt’s not often you can get two houses of legislature and a governor to agree almost unanimously, but this law comes close. Governor Brownback has signed HB2085, a bill which requires Kansas ignition interlock companies to certify that a DUI offender has kept the device installed for the full probation period. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

Before now, offenders could slip through the cracks. When their probation period was up, they could apply for a new driver’s license, and no one would check to see if they had kept an interlock on as required. In fact, there were cases of drivers removing the devices, or using another vehicle.

The Power of Data to Fight Drunk Driving

The reason this law is a step forward is that ignition interlocks record data of every start, every test, and total usage of a vehicle. That data is reviewed by authorities to make sure that an offender is complying with his or her interlock program.

If, for instance, a driver uses another car without an interlock, which is prohibited, the data will show that the interlock-equipped car has suspiciously low mileage. Similarly, any attempt to tamper or start the vehicle without a test will be recorded and sent to authorities.

Now those authorities will review the data at the end of the term, to make sure that the program was complied with, and the offender was driving sober for a year. This will have a big effect on the numbers in ithe Kansas ignition interlock program, as more offenders come to terms with their drinking and driving habits and learn to drive responsibly.

Ignition interlock Program: It Works If You Work It

ignition interlockRoad safety advocates such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving are strong supporters of ignition interlocks. Impartial bodies such as NHTSA and NTSB have reported on how ignition interlocks save lives.

And they’re right – when the devices are installed, and the data monitored, and consequences put in place for violations, then the programs work brilliantly to cut down alcohol-related road deaths. Governor Brownback has just enabled the Kansas ignition interlock program to work better and save more lives. And for that he deserves thanks.

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