March 12, 2003
Senate Approves Ignition Interlock Bill
The Associated Press
SANTA FE The Senate on Wednesday endorsed a bill that would allow convicted drunken drivers with revoked driver's licenses to get special licenses if they installed ignition interlock systems.
The bill went to the House on a unanimous vote.
The licenses would be good only for driving vehicles that had the interlock devices installed.
Drivers with ignition interlock devices must blow into them and register a sufficiently low breath alcohol concentration in order to start their vehicles.
The measure could greatly expand the number of devices in use in New Mexico.
"It's a device that has helped me in my recovery, and I'm sure it's going to help others," said Sen. Phil Griego, D-San Jose, a recovering alcoholic who used the device after a drunken driving conviction.
Under current law starting in January ignition interlocks are mandated for all repeat drunken drivers and those convicted of aggravated DWI.
Supporters of the legislation say there are 21,000 people with revoked licenses in the state. But they say the revocations don't stop most of them from driving and from driving drunk.