Drunk Drivers Could Soon Face Stiffer Penalties in Florida

By: Matt Galka Email
By: Matt Galka Email

By: Matt Galka

Tallahassee, Fla. -- If you're not familiar with the Life Safer F-C 100, then you probably were never hit with a DUI.

The car ignition interlock device won't start a car if the vehicle's driver has a BAC of .05 or more. A bill in the Florida house is hoping to use this device as a stiffer penalty for first time DUI offenders.

"The whole objective of this bill is to simply expand the utilization of this technology because it actually alters behavior and allows people to keep working and supporting their families, but it truly changes behavior and puts tighter restrictions on the alcohol limit," Rep. Dennis K. Baxley, HB 479 Sponsor, said.

The new bill would call for all first time DUI offenders to pass a breathalyzer test before they can start their car.

The bill expands on current Florida law.

It mandates the breathalyzer device for first time offenders who blow a point one five and for people who have committed multiple offenses.
The American Beverage Institute thinks the bill isn't targeting the hardcore offenders, but really punishing drinkers who may have had one sip too many.

"You don't punish somebody going five miles over the speed limit the same way you punish somebody going 40 miles over the speed limit," said Baxley. "There are different kinds of offenders and they should be treated differently, unfortunately this kind of bill really lumps them all into the same basket."

A similar measure passed on the house floor but didn't make it out of Senate committees last year. The bill made it through the House's Transportation and Highway Safety subcommittee earlier today


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