Recently, Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico introduced a bill that would require ignition interlock devices for DWI offenders nationwide. The bill mirrors that of New Mexico’s already standing law, instituting the same penalty. While it has met with some support, it is also seeing some very early opposition.
New Mexico was the first state to mandate that first time DWI offenders install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. Several other states have since followed suit. However, Udall is now calling for a federal law on the subject. This could bring up some interesting issues as constitutionality goes and where state and federal laws are and should be concerned.
Most traffic laws are set by the state, region, county, city or town. These are part of states’ rights to set their own laws. However, there are a few federal traffic laws, and there are ways for the federal government to push states into enacting certain traffic laws. This begs the question of whether this bill is the right way to go about getting ignition interlock devices placed in the vehicles of drunk drivers.
The use of these devices seems to work to decrease drunken collisions, and therefore the law seems like a good idea. But should this be a federal law? If the federal government really wanted every state to enact this law, it could do so in much the same way that MADD was able to raise the legal drinking age. Withholding certain funds from states would help coerce them to pass the law. If every state had this law on the books, there would be no reason for the federal law.
I suppose the main question here is: would the federal government be infringing on states’ rights by passing this bill? That’s something to mull over for a while. If you want some more information about traffic laws pertaining to drunk driving in Texas, check out this Dallas DWI lawyer’s site.