A new bill that would require the installation of ignition interlock devices in DUI cases passed the Nevada Senate unanimously, which may have a significant impact on the accused and other motorists. The new bill would affect the license revocation period when a person would need to install an ignition interlock device, and the processing of DUI suspects if passed.
Impact of Drunk Driving
In 2016 alone, 77 people died in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents in Nevada. Between 2003 and 2012, another 1,025 people in Nevada lost their lives in accidents involving a drunk driver, according to the Center for Traffic Safety Research of the University of Nevada. The bill’s sponsor said that ignition interlock devices have prevented more than two million attempts by motorists to drive drunk, which may have saved countless lives.
The current revocation period for individuals convicted of DUI is 90 days. The new bill would increase this period to 185 days. However, individuals convicted of DUI would be able to drive during this revocation period if they install an ignition interlock device. The individual’s driver’s license would note that the driver is required to use an ignition interlock device. Additionally, the bill contains a provision that would allow individuals who are facing DUI charges but have not been convicted to use the ignition interlock device.
Law enforcement, the Northern Nevada chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Senate fully support the bill. Some supporters acknowledge that even if drivers have suspended or revoked licenses, they may still drive in violation of the law.
Some lawyers in Las Vegas do not support the bill and say that installing an ignition interlock device before a conviction has the potential to punish an innocent person because this person would be liable for the cost of using the device. The monthly cost of using an ignition interlock is about $70 a month. Attorneys argue that provisions should be put in place to pay back defendants who have to pay for the continuing service if they are found not guilty or the charges are dropped. Other lawyers in Las Vegas are concerned about the revocation period being extended to 185 days. Many state that the manufacturers of ignition interlock devices stand to profit and this is why they support the bill, and some say the changes would impact low-income individuals more than other groups of people.