YES!! Idaho Is the 31st State to Mandate Ignition Interlocks for All DUIs.

Governor Otter Signs H 551, Landmark Drunk Driving Law

victory-idaho-all-offender-ignition-interlock-lawThe word “trend” doesn’t do it justice. Idaho’s governor, Butch Otter, just signed into law a bill that will require all drunk drivers to install ignition interlocks in their vehicles. That makes 31 states – not just a trend, more of a wave sweeping the country’s traffic safety landscape.

An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

The Idaho all-offender ignition interlock law is important news for all who share the state’s roads, because ignition interlocks are a proven method of keeping drunk drivers from repeating their crime. License suspension – the typical measure levied against drunk drivers – does not work well. Every day one reads in the news of drunk drivers who are arrested – or killed or injured – or arrested after killing or injuring someone else – despite a suspended license. In fact, the ineffectiveness of license suspension is the reason that ignition interlocks were invented in the first place.

A Proven Solution for Drunk Driving

Why first offenders? The reason that all 50 states don’t yet have an all-offender ignition interlock law is interesting. Some legislators think that it’s too strict a measure for first-time drunk drivers, and others think it’s too lenient. They’re both wrong. An interlock device allows an offender to drive to work or school, pick up kids at school, and perform other vital tasks. The only thing it doesn’t do is let a driver drive drunk. That makes it a practical measure to protect the public. Public safety advocates like MADD and bodies like the National Safety Council support interlocks for all DUI offenders.

There are also special interests who don’t want liquor sales to suffer, but common sense and public spirit prevailed in Idaho. Our thanks to the legislators who worked hard to shepherd this bill all the way to the governor’s desk. And of course, our thanks to Governor Otter as well.

Safer Times Ahead for Idaho

The Idaho all-offender ignition interlock law will take effect on the first day of 2019. We might never know exactly whose lives will be saved, but we know they will number in the hundreds, and eventually thousands. It just goes to show how effective good government can be.