ANNAPOLIS – Maryland is close to requiring habitual drunk drivers to have a device in their car that would prevent them from driving while intoxicated.
Without debate, the Senate Thursday gave tentative approval to a bill that would require habitual offenders to have the widely used ignition interlock system placed in their cars.
Before turning on the ignition, the driver must blow into a breathalyzer tube. If the device picks up any alcohol on the driver’s breath, the car will not start.
The driver must also blow into the tube periodically while driving the car. If the driver fails to do so or begins to drink, the car’s lights will flash and the horn will sound until the driver pulls over.
Drivers are charged a fee to participate in the program.
“This is a bill that works — it makes sense because there’s no cost to the taxpayer,” Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, D-Anne Arundel, said on the Senate floor.
Drivers with fewer drunk driving convictions can voluntarily participate in the program to speed up reinstatement of their suspended licenses.
Similar laws requiring the ignition interlock device are already in place in 35 states. The bill generated no opposition in committee. Given that the House has already approved it, it will go straight to the governor’s desk with Senate passage. -30-