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HB 551 - Mandatory ignition interlock device

HB 551 - Mandatory ignition interlock device

Phil Haunschild
March 1, 2018

Bill description: HB 551 would require individuals convicted of a first time DUI offense to install an ignition interlock device on all vehicles they operate.

Rating: -1

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non- violent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes? 

HB 551 would require the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device for a full year by anyone convicted of a first-time DUI offense. Currently, individuals convicted of a second or subsequent DUI offense are required to install an interlock device on their vehicles.

Ignition interlock devices measure whether there is any alcohol content in an individual’s breath, and if it registers that there is none, it will allow a car to operate. The individuals required to install the ignition interlock device would be responsible to pay for the cost of installation and maintenance, which,  according to the Idaho Transportation Department, vary from $50-$150 for installation and $50-175 in maintenance fees per month. According to committee estimates, the installation could be offered for free, while the monthly charge would be $75. This could end up costing an individual as much as $2,250 per year.

In cases when convicted individuals can show financial hardship and are unable to afford the installation or maintenance of the ignition interlock device, they can petition to the county to pay for the device through the Court Interlock Device and Electronic Monitoring Device Fund.

HB 551 would increase the costs of being charged with a DUI to an individual who has not shown that they have a proclivity towards this action. As the law stands, currently, a repeat DUI offender is required to install the device as they have shown a pattern. A first DUI could as easily be the result of an individual unintentionally surpassing the blood-alcohol limit and not an indication of an intentional disregard for the law.


This analysis was updated 3/5/18 to include committee estimates for the cost of the ignition interlock device.

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