NTSB recommends harsher punishment for first-time DUI offenders

By  | 

GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- Drinking and driving is the number one killer on our roads. One group says harsher punishment for first-time DUI offenders may be the answer to getting the numbers down.

Right now 17 states, including Oklahoma, require an ignition interlock device be installed in a first time DUI offenders car. Those states have low re-offending rates. So, the National Transportation Safety Board wants all 50 states to require it.

The NTSB is pushing state lawmakers to require an ignition interlock device be put in the cars of all first-time DUI offenders, which would require them to have alcohol-free breath in order to drive.

Driver Christine Hopkins says it comes down to safety.

"I think it would be a good idea to prevent future fatalities," Hopkins said.

"Like, they think they can drive, but if this stuff can stop them, then I will be safer. I will feel safe," Neoel Mbaga said.

"It's kind of giving you a second chance and that way we can ensure that you don't get behind the wheel while drinking again," OHP Trooper James Reinecker said.

The CDC says interlocks save lives and reduce drunk driving repeat offenses by 67 percent.

Oklahoma already requires the interlocking device for first-time offenders, but Texas does not.

"We're in the business of trying to save lives, and if we can prevent me having to go meet with a family like I met with today, who lost their son due to someone who was two times the legal limit and was a repeat offender, then it is you know something we need to consider and our legislatures need to consider," Adam LeCrone said.

Texas attorney Adam LaCrone says Texas lawmakers have discussed the requirement before, but it failed.

"Obviously one of the issues always is cost. Can the first-time offender afford it?" LeCrone said.

We spoke with one man who says the device could cost a couple hundred dollars to install and $85.00 each month to monitor.

"That expense would be fair, considering they shouldn't have been driving in the first place," Hopkins said.

Texas lawmakers are planning to discuss the requirement of an ignition interlock device at the next legislative session.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus