Ignition Lock Bill Could Prevent Drunk Driving

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SALEM – The Oregon House passed HB 3075, which will make roads safer by requiring first time DUII offenders to install an ignition interlock device as a condition of their diversion agreement. Under current state law, only convicted drunk drivers are required to install the devices.

The chief sponsors of HB 3075 are State Representatives Dave Hunt (D-Clackamas County), Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer, Newberg and St. Paul), Jeff Barker (D-Aloha) and Val Hoyle (D-Eugene).

“Thousands of Oregonians participate in the DUII diversion program each year. But even after entering diversion, too many become repeat offenders,” said Hunt.  “Driving is a privilege. Creating real penalties and strong enforcement tools are important preventive measures that will ensure we are doing more to keep drunk drivers off the road and prevent first time offenders from becoming repeat offenders.”

In order to guarantee first time offenders abide by the new law, HB 3075 mandates that providers of ignition interlocks report to either the courts or diversion program coordinators when a device is installed, uninstalled or tampered with. It also penalizes anyone caught driving without an ignition interlock while on diversion with a Class A traffic violation.

“Mandatory ignition interlock devices are a cost-effective deterrent to drinking and driving and they have proven results,” said Representative Margaret Doherty (D-Tigard), a co-sponsor of the bill. “By utilizing these devices for first time offenders we can keep future costs down and avoid unnecessary injuries and deaths on the road.”

The bill will also increase the fee imposed on DUII offenders to pay for the diversion program from $25 to $50. The new fee revenue goes into the Intoxicated Driver Program Fund to assist indigent offenders in paying for installing the devices and to provide more funding for treatment programs.

“The main reason people drink and drive is because they can,” said Thatcher. “Interlocks stop that from happening by making drivers ‘blow before they go.’” This bill is not about punishment, it’s about changing behavior. Studies show ignition interlocks encourage drunk drivers to drive safe and sober.”

“The Governor’s Advisory Committee on DUII supports this step in preventing impaired driving in Oregon,” said Chuck Hayes, the Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on DUII. “We strongly believe that the passage of this bill and the use of ignition interlock devices is an effective tool in preventing impaired driving and in making our roadways safer. We commend those individuals who worked hard to pass this important highway safety measure.”

Other supporters of the bill include; Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Oregon Anti-Crime Alliance, the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association, the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police, the Oregon District Attorneys Association, Crime Victims United, and Oregon Impact.

HB 3075 now moves to the Senate for approval.

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