Kansas Ignition Interlock Law Gets Tightened Up Nicely
Laws are like any product that people make: they’re not perfect, and so they need to be improved from time to time. Drunk driving laws across the country continually get tweaked and refined when legislatures are on the ball. And recently the Kansas Legislature has shown that it’s doing the right thing, by passing House Bill 2085.
Ignition Interlocks: Laws Are Key
The bill concerns the Kansas ignition interlock program. Ignition interlocks are devices which prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. Interlocks have been proven to reduce alcohol-related fatalities when they are installed. Not all states reap the same benefits, because not all states do a good job ensuring that they do get installed, are kept on for the full term. The new law takes care of this.
Proof of Compliance: A Vital Element
The bill that was passed unanimously by the House on a 121 to 0 vote requires interlock companies to certify that an offender has kept the device on for the full term. It’s possible for the companies to do that because they monitor data from the devices on a regular basis, and could easily tell if the device were tampered with or removed by an unauthorized party.
The trick is to get all the pieces to work together. If a person removes the interlock without authorization, he or she won’t be able to obtain full driving privileges because the Division of Vehicles won’t receive proof of completion from the interlock company.
So – A Perfect Law? Not Yet
It’s great that the Kansas ignition interlock program has been tightened up. One more change would make the state’s ignition interlock law even more effective at stopping drunk driving: compliance-based removal. Many states have adopted a system whereby the interlock can only be removed after 4 months have passed with no failed tests. This measure ensures that the offender has learned from his or her mistake and is able to commit to sober driving.
Within the “more perfect union” that our founding fathers sought to form are fifty states, each trying to perfect its own laws. HB 2085 is a step toward that perfection in the motor vehicle category – a type of law which was inconceivable in 1792. Kudos to Kansas for using its legislative power to make the roads safer. Governor Brownback, please take out your pen.