The Oklahoma House of Represent-atives approved House Bill 1304, which would require repeat drunken drivers to have alcohol detection devices installed in their vehicles before they could regain their driver’s licenses.
Under the provisions of HB 1304, the vehicle of anyone convicted of a second or subsequent offense of driving under the influence of alcohol would be outfitted with an interlock device for a 12-month period as a condition of reinstatement of a driver’s license.
Ignition interlock devices prevent people who have alcohol in their system from driving a car by linking the vehicle’s ignition to a blood alcohol-measuring device. If there is measurable alcohol in the blood, the vehicle does not start.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of driving under the influence are repeat offenders. Additionally, the agency reports that drivers with prior DUI or DWI convictions have a greater risk of involvement in a fatal crash.
The cost of installation and maintenance of the device would be borne by the offender, and any person convicted of tampering with the device would be guilty of a misdemeanor. A final provision of HB 1304 would prevent judges from waiving any fines imposed for driving during a period of suspension or revocation of license.
Some legislators expressed concern that it was too restrictive of driver’s rights. HB 1304 passed in the House 69-26 and passed in the Senate 47-0. The bill moved to the governor’s desk for his signature.