Although all 50 states have some sort of ignition interlock program, only 15 states require that anyone convicted of any level of DWI have an ignition interlock installed in their vehicle. North Carolina is not one of those 15 states. But everything may be changing.
Two weeks ago, Representative Nita Lowey of New York presented a federal interlock bill before the House of Representatives that would require every person convicted of DWI to participate in a mandatory ignition interlock program for a minimum of six months. This would include first time offenders. We’re not talking about all convicted DWI offenders in New York. We’re talking about every single state.
“In addition to the enormous emotional toll, drunk driving costs taxpayers $132 billion each year,” Lowey said in a statement. “We know interlocks work and it’s time for every state to adopt this lifesaving measure.”
According to our constitution, Congress can’t make states enforce particular laws, but it can withhold federal highway dollars. If this legislation passes, states that refuse to comply will be hit with reductions in federal transportation funding. And they won’t have a lot of time to make a decision on whether to comply or not. These funding cuts would go into effect on October 1, 2014.
Lowey established herself as a pioneer of DUI prevention in 2000 when she passed the law that required all states to enforce .08 as the maximum BAC level. We’ll keep you posted on the status of this bill moving forward. In order for it to become law, it much pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate before finally being signed into law by the President.
This proposed federal interlock bill is known as Alisa’s Law, named after the daughter of MADD president Jan Withers. Alisa was killed by an underaged drunk driver when she was just 15.