A new bill introduced in the Georgia State Senate would toughen drunk driving (DUI) penalties by mandating an ignition interlock breathalyser device be installed in your car after any conviction. Current Georgia DUI law only mandates an interlock device in the case of a second offense DUI conviction.
According to CBSAtlanta.com, Senate Bill 41 must pass the Senate by Midnight on March 16th to have a chance to make it into law in this legislative session. But the bill is not without detractors.
Alcoholic beverage industry trade groups like the American Beverage Institute believe that mandating a harsh penalty for any charge for a first offense DUI that could be only one sip over the legal limit of .08% is extremely burdensome, and does little to enhance public safety. They recommend the interlock driving restriction only be applied to multiple offenders, or 1st offense cases with a high BAC level.
High BAC (usually .15%, or almost twice the legal limit) requirements for interlock devices may better target dangerous, hardcore alcoholics who are more likely to be driving drunk in the future. The first time convict who may have barely had one too many is much less likely to be a danger and hazard to public safety in the future. And ignition interlock devices are about reducing the danger to the general public by preventing those who might be most likely to be repeat drunk drivers.
These Ignition interlock devices are essentially rolling breathalyzers. They test the driver’s breath alcohol level as a condition of starting the vehicle, and possibly at other intervals. The threshold for triggering a failure could be as low as .02% BAC, or barely one drink. If a failure occurs, the event is logged, and the incident will violate a person’s probation, and possibly incur additional criminal penalties.