Legislature proposes tougher IID requirement

As if the IID requirement for one full year when a person is on diversion is not onerous enough, the Oregon legislature is proposing to extend the requirement for how long clients need to leave these on their cars. Another example of the money-making IID industry running lawmakers? You decide. Full story below:

Drunken driving ‘loophole’ targeted

Too many offenders are avoiding the breathalyzer ignition locks, legislators say

The Register-Guard

Published: February 5, 2013 12:00AM, Midnight, Feb. 5

SALEM — While state legislators have embraced policies in recent years that require more drunken driving offenders to install alcohol-­detecting breathalyzers in their vehicles, some lawmakers believe those rules need more tweaking this year to make them effective.

Chief among the proposed changes is House Bill 2117, which received an initial public hearing on Monday, as lawmakers reconvened for the first working day of the 2013 legislative session.

HB 2117 would close what proponents see as “a loophole” in the law regarding the devices — called ignition interlocks — that prevent a vehicle from starting when a driver fails a breathalyzer test.

Under current law, both offenders convicted of driving under the influence of intoxicants and those who enter a DUII diversion program to avoid the risk of conviction must legally install an interlock that they pay for. The requirement for the latter group, typically first-time offenders, was added by the Legislature in 2011. Approximately 10,000 people in Oregon are convicted of drunken driving every year, while another 10,000 enter diversion programs.

But statistics show that in 2011 only about 35 percent of offenders installed the interlock devices as required to regain their driving rights, Anne Pratt, a spokeswoman for Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, said Monday.

Some drive with suspended licenses or give up their vehicles. But many others “wait out” the period of time that they are required to have an interlock device installed and then apply for a new license, legally bypassing the interlock requirement, Pratt said.

HB 2117 would change the law so that those offenders would need to install an interlock device for the required period of time, regardless of when they reinstate their license.

“It makes no sense to have life-saving laws on the books and then let them slip out through the loopholes,” Pratt said.

HB 2117 would also increase to $275, up from $150, a fee that offenders in DUII diversion programs must pay to an independent alcohol and drug evaluation specialist responsible for monitoring offenders’ interlock device installations.

While the concept of interlock devices has proven popular with the public and state lawmakers nationwide in recent years, the actual rolling out of the devices continues to pose difficulties.

Amy Joyce, a legislative liaison for the state Department of Transportation, said legislators are drafting amendments to HB 2117 that would give the Transportation Department some oversight authority over standards for the devices and their installation. There is no such oversight by the state now, she said.

Other amendments are also expected, lawmakers said Monday.

Rep. Jim Thompson, a Dallas Republican, said the concept of HB 2117 is “a matter of cleaning up the way our inter­lock device laws work.”

The length of time that a DUII offender must keep an ignition interlock device varies from one year for those who enter a diversion program to five years for repeat offenders who have their licenses revoked.

The devices are often rented, typically at a cost of around $70 a month.