Mayor Vincent Gray signed two bills which will toughen D.C.’s drunk driving laws. One bill addresses ignition interlock devices, which are machines installed into vehicles that will block a car’s ignition from starting if the driver is over the alcohol limit, which is set at .02%.
The second bill is related to the admission of breath requirements and whether certain evidence is admissable in court.
Under the previous law, the DMV could not recommend a driver use an ignition interlock device until after two convictions. The new law makes first-time DUI offenders eligible for the ignition interlock device.
The District will also begin using new breath-testing machines which feature digital readouts and ID scanners.
One of the bill’s signed also includes updates to the city’s procedures for administering the tests, which means more quality-control checks which should improve accuracy of the machines.
Frank Harris, a representative for MADD, believes these changes are going to improve DUI enforcement and keep drunk drivers off the road. He said, “”It’s one less loophole that a defense attorney can throw out there, one less roadblock that a defense attorney can throw out.”