Ignition Interlock Bill before House in Georgia
House Bill 671 is currently before the Georgia House of Representatives. If the bill passes, Georgia will require ignition interlock devices for first-DUI offenders who meet the following criteria: the offender has a blood alcohol level of .015 or higher or the offender refuses to submit to Breathalyzer or field sobriety test.
Known as the ‘DUI Reform’ bill, one of the goals of House Bill 671 is to eliminate limited driving permits. These permits are often given to DUI offenders or drivers who have refused to submit to a BAC or sobriety test and allow the driver to drive to limited places such as work, school, the doctor, or support meetings. Instead of the limited driving permit, the first DUI offender will receive an ignition interlock.
Current DUI laws in the State of Georgia include 24 hours up to 1 year of jail time for first offenders. The first offender will pay fines ranging from $300 to $1000, and they will receive a license suspension of up to one year with the possibility of a return to driving after 4 months. If the DUI Reform bill is passed, the ignition interlock device will be required by first offenders for a period of one year.
There are many benefits for first offenders who install an ignition interlock device. The offender may be required to drive as part of his or her job, and the limited license does not allow for that. Ignition interlock devices are also known for reducing the likelihood that the first offender will drink and drive again, and they allow the driver to view the penalty in a more positive light as they are free to drive anywhere as long as they are sober and they use the device.
In 2012, there were 301 fatalities due to alcohol-related crashes in Georgia and ignition interlock devices are currently required for second and subsequent DUI offenses in the State.
House Bill 671 will go before the Senate once it passes the House of Representatives.