This summer, Mississippi will join 17 other states in requiring ignition interlocks for almost all convicted drunk driving offenders. While the device will only be mandatory for repeat offenders, unlike the other 17 states’ all-offender interlock installation requirements, the legislation is a significant improvement in Mississippi’s drunk driving laws.
While convicted DUI offenders in Mississippi receive a driver’s license suspension, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reports that up to 75 percent of DUI offenders continue to drive without a license, making license suspension alone ineffective for reducing repeat offenses. Currently, ignition interlock installation is only required at the discretion of the judge.
The new legislation, which was signed into law in April of this year, requires all repeat offenders to install an ignition interlock in their vehicle in order to obtain a restricted license after their license suspension period ends. Second-time offenders must install the device for at least one year while third-time offenders are required to install the device for at least 3 years.
Though first-time offenders aren’t required to install the device, the court can reduce the offender’s driver’s license suspension period from 90 days to 30 days under the condition that he or she installs the device for 90 days after the suspension period ends.
The expanded ignition interlock law will take effect starting July 1st.