DUI bill would require ignition interlock
Violators would have to install a device that measures intoxication before starting the car
By 2010, Hawaii could have the strongest law in the nation forcing convicted drunken drivers to prove they are sober before starting their car, say officials with the Hawaii chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
The Legislature last night moved along House Bill 3377, which would require repeat offenders and those guilty of driving while severely intoxicated to hook up an ignition interlock system to their car.
Lawmakers will take a final vote next week on the bill that was held up briefly last night as lawmakers debated whether the state could pay for the measure's $50,000 appropriation.
Under the bill, first-time DUI violators would have the option of either the ignition interlock system or surrendering their license to drive for up to 90 days.
According to Arkie Koehl, MADD spokesman, the bill would allow those convicted of DUI to drive but would ensure that they are sober when behind the wheel.
"We are thrilled. If this becomes law, we believe it will be the best interlock bill in the country because it covers all offenders," Koehl said.
Already, 45 states have ignition interlock laws, but some make it an optional sentence or require it only for habitual violators, Koehl said.
The interlock device would be put on the vehicle owned by the person arrested for DUI. The device makes it impossible to start the car until the person passes a breathalyzer test to ensure that the driver is sober.
The device has an electronic-monitoring system that recognizes the defendant and will only let the defendant start the car.
The bill, if passed, would be delayed for a year to allow a task force of judicial, law enforcement and community advisers to work out the details of the system.
For instance, Koehl said, the cost of the device will be charged to the defendant, at the rate of about $3.50 a day, but the exact details will be up to the task force to handle.