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Lawmakers Approve Ignition Interlock Devices For Repeat Drunk Drivers

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- A Minnesota House committee on Thursday approved a bill making ignition interlock devices mandatory for repeat drunk drivers.

The bill requires anyone convicted of drunk driving for the second time to install an ignition device in their cars if they want to reinstate their license. The device requires a driver to blow into a tube, and the car won't start if it detects alcohol.

Representative Kim Norton, DFL-Rochester, told members of the Public Safety Committee that 607,885 Minnesota drivers have a DWI on their records. But it's repeat offenders this bill is aimed at.

"1 in 7 drivers in Minnesota has a DUI," Norton said.  "1 in 16 has two or more, and 1 in 35 has three or more.  This is a significant issue.  It can be reduced significantly."

Right now in Minnesota, drivers must use an interlock device only if they've had three DWIs in five years or four DWIs in 10 years.

So requiring it for all 2nd-time DWI drivers would be a major change, possibly affecting tens of thousands of Minnesota drivers.

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