Legalizing sobriety checkpoints in Texas, and making ignition interlock devices manadatory for any DWI conviction are the top items on the leglislative checklist for drunk driving law enhancements advocates.
Under current law, sobriety checkpoints, or DWI roadblocks are prohibited in Texas. Their effectiveness has always been questions. Advocates point to a 2001 CDC report that claims that checkpoints can reduce drunk driving fatalities by 20%, an astonishing claim. Critics believe they are both ineffective and in clear violation of the 4th Amendment of the Constitution which sets a clear requirement for probable cause for search.
Drunk Driving victims advocacy groups like MADD have long advocated requiring an ignition interlock device on vehicles of anyone convicted of a DWI, even a first offense.
An ignition interlock is a car breathalyzer that prevents a vehicle from starting before the driving blows a clean sample of alcohol free breath into a small device. If the person fails the test, the failure is noted and logged, and the car will not start.
Under current Texas DWI laws, an ignition interlock device is only required after a 2nd offense conviction, typically in conjunction with a limited occupational license. Some states like Arizona and Illinois have passed laws requiring any convicted drunk driver to have one of these systems installed as a condition of license reinstatement.
It remains to be seen how much emphasis there is on these efforts in the Texas legislature.
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