Utilization of ignition interlock devices have become fairly widespread across the country to curb drunk driving. IID’s function as an onboard breathalyzer, preventing a car from starting if the driver is impaired. In many states the requirement to install an IID starts with a conviction an OWI second offense, a grossly elevated blood alcohol content (BAC), or when an accident occurs.
Similarly, in Iowa, first time OWI offenders issued a temporary restricted license are not required to install an IID if their BAC does not exceed 0.10 and they are not involved in an accident. However, a proposed bill making its way through the legislature would require Iowa drivers to install an ignition interlock device if they are charged with operating while intoxicated 1st offense with a BAC between 0.08 and 0.10.
Although the bill would require basically all drivers convicted of OWI to install an IID, some drivers may benefit because the bill would strike current provisions limiting the use of a temporary restricted license. As it is, a temporary restricted license limits a driver to getting to and from work or school – no trips to the grocery or other errands central to daily living. Under the new law, drivers with an IID onboard may operate as a holder of a Class C license permitting more freedom of movement.
Of course, the proposed bill does not remove ineligibility periods for a person convicted of more serious OWI related crimes, or amend provisions barring a person with a temporary restricted license from operating a commercial motor vehicle or a bus.
It a tradeoff of sorts. Although drivers convicted of any level of OWI will undoubtedly bear the expense of installing and maintaining an IID if the bill is passed, many will enjoy more driving privileges with an IID on board. Most importantly, however, is that the barrier of an IID can stop a drunk driver in his tracks, potentially reducing car accident injuries and fatalities on Iowa roads.
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