State lawmakers looking to crack down on DWI offenders

Updated: May. 8, 2019 at 10:08 PM CDT
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(KPLC) - In the state legislature, lawmakers are looking to crack down on those arrested and charged with DWI to make sure they don’t become repeat offenders.

Drinking and driving could cost you your license, thousands in fines, and worst-case scenario someone’s life.

About one in three traffic deaths in the U.S. involve a drunk driver and the statistics are even higher in Louisiana according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Just last month, Lake Charles Police arrested a driver for what they say was his 6th DWI. It had many asking how anyone with a history of drunk driving arrests could be out on the road.

And it’s something state lawmakers are hoping to crack down on. House Bill 580 tightens the law regarding ignition interlock devices.

Since 2007, convicted drunk drivers have used the devices by giving a breath sample before their vehicle would start. But some lawmakers point to loopholes that have allowed some to opt out of the interlock system, by taking a license suspension.

HB 580 aims to not let drivers fall through the cracks. It requires the device to be installed during any license suspension, lowers the blood alcohol threshold from 0.2 to 0.15, and puts a camera on the device to record who’s using it.

The bill recently passed the House Transportation Committee with unanimous support and now awaits a full hearing on the House floor. That bill is authored by several representatives including Johnny Guinn and Dorothy Sue Hill from Southwest Louisiana.

The bill will be debated on the house floor on May 16th.

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