Driving under the influence policy to increase penalties passes through committee
In its second committee hearing, legislation to update state policies dealing with driving under the influence passed through the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
Senate Bill 85, sponsored by Sen. Whitney Westerfield, seeks to change state DUI laws to provide treatment, and clarifies and expands the laws related to ignition interlock devices.
After failing in committee last week, the bill was heard again on Wednesday. Westerfield said the bill will save lives by implementing a policy that would put ignition interlock devices, which tests the blood alcohol level of the driver, in the vehicles after a first driving under the influence offense.
The head of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and a survivor of the Carrolton bus crash in 1988 where 27 students died both testified in favor of the legislation, noting they believe the policy will save lives, stating it may change the minds of people who think about getting behind the wheel while under the influence.
Some groups testified against the legislation, stating going to ignition interlock after the first offense is too drastic and stated they believe the bill is driven by vendors looking to make more money off the policy.
Senate Bill 85 passed with an amendment that would slightly lower the penalty for having someone else blow into your ignition interlock device who is sober multiple times. After failing before, the bill passed with 17 members voting yes, 3 voting no, and one pass vote. The bill now moves to the full House for a vote on the floor.