A pair of state lawmakers are hoping to address what they say is a loophole in state law on requiring some drunk driving offenders to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicle.
The devices require a driver to breathe into a tube to prove they are sober before the vehicle will start. While a judge can order them installed on a convicted OWI offenders’ vehicle, state Rep. Dave Heaton (R-Wausau) and Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) says the law currently only allows someone caught driving a vehicle owned by someone else that does not have an ignition interlock device to be given a traffic citation.
Wanggaard and Heaton are introducing a bill that would try to address that loophole by creating special drivers’ licenses with “Ignition Interlock Restrictions.”
Heaton says the current law allows drunk drivers to re-offend by using somebody else’s vehicle — and the new license status would require them to use interlocks all the time, no matter which vehicles they drive. If they don’t, they would face criminal penalties for violating court orders.
Heaton says a variety of police, medical, and anti-drunk driving groups have come out in favor of the measure. He expects it to go through the committee process this summer, with action possible this fall.