Senate bill could lessen restrictions on first-time DUI offenders

A bill could reduce interlock system requirement for first time offenders.

TOPEKA, Kan (KSNT)  –  A bill in the Kansas Senate would take away some restrictions on Kansans with DUI convictions. Currently, those with DUI convictions are forced to have an ignition interlock system installed in their vehicle while their license is suspended. This device forces drivers to take a breathalyzer test before they start the vehicle.

“The law was intended to have DUI offenders have the option of an ignition interlock device while their license was suspended,” said Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City).

Haley introduced a bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee that would give first time DUI offenders the option of getting the interlock device or choosing not to drive during their suspension. He said many are choosing not to drive only to be told they need the device to get their license back.

“Many offenders after the suspension period have to still go out and rent a device, this ignition interlock device before they’re able to get administrative reinstatement. That doesn’t do anything for public safety,” said Haley.

On the other hand, Leann Lewis lobbied for the interlock requirement in 2011 after she lost her father, Melvin Briggs, in a drunk driving crash.

“My dad was killed by a repeat drunk driving offender who was on probation in Kansas for a prior DUI. Suspension alone is not enough. We need ignition interlock devices on a vehicle in order to make sure they are sober when they’re driving,” said Lewis.

The Judiciary Committee is expected to revisit the bill by February 24.


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