What Happened to the Interlock Removal Bill in New Mexico?

ignition interlock lawsSince New Mexico has some of the strictest ignition interlock requirements after a DWI in the U.S., the state is often seen as a guidepost for other jurisdictions in implementing and refining their own policies. One example of this is New Mexico House Bill 86 (NM HB 86) that intends to close loopholes surrounding the removal of ignition interlocks and the requirements for DWI offenders who claim to have no vehicle for an interlock.

Additions to the current New Mexico ignition interlock removal requirements would include:

  • No more than two instances of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reading above .05 percent recorded by the ignition interlock.
  • Proof that a DWI offender with an interlock tested their BAC at least once a week during the mandatory six-month interlock requirement.

Not only that, but, for those DWI offenders who do not have a vehicle, or claim to not own their own vehicle, and cannot install an interlock, NM HB 86 clears up their requirement with a home monitoring policy for alcohol, and their location. Essentially, if a DWI offender has no car and no interlock, they could be ordered by the court to submit to home BAC monitoring, as well as wear a device that relays their location to the court, much like a person under “house arrest” must wear.

The New Mexico House passed the bill in February, 2015, and handed it off to the New Mexico Senate, where it is now listed as a “dead” bill. The “no vehicle” loophole and the ability to de-install an ignition interlock without a full picture of the offender’s driving habits both remain as obstacles in fully preventing a DWI offender from drinking and driving again. New Mexico certainly stands out as an ignition interlock success story across the U.S., and we can only hope that soon, the state keeps up its good reputation with eliminating drunk drivers from its streets for good.

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