A new drunk driving law has gone into effect in Iowa. Backers hope it will keep more impaired drivers off of state roadways. It will require more convicted drunk drivers to install devices on their cars to lock the ignition if they’ve been drinking.
In Iowa, a drunk driver’s license is suspended for six months, but you can get a temporary restricted license, or TRL, to travel to and from work. And If you’re a repeat offender, an ignition interlock is required. Under the new law, the TRL will let you drive anywhere, not just to work. Now, even first-time offenders will have to get the device. Pat Hoye with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau predicts more safety overall.
“Because the temporary restricted license was so restrictive that they were just going to drive with a suspended license,” he said. “By getting the ignition interlock in there if they were going to drive anyway this is a safer way to do it.”
Iowa joins most other states in requiring the interlock device for temporary driving privileges even for first-time offenders.
“Mothers against drunk driving, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they've all been pushing, that any time you're arrested for drunk driving, no matter what you test, that should be one of the requirements for you to get your temporary restricted license back, and from our office we certainly agree with that,” he said.
The new law went into effect July 1, the start of Iowa’s new fiscal year.