Bill Would Create Restricted Drivers License For First-Time DWI Offenders

May 2, 2014

Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

First-time, drunk-driving offenders may soon be given the right to drive with a new restricted license.

The state Senate gave its preliminary approval to a bill creating the program on Thursday.

The Senate Finance Committee will review the bill before a final vote, but with the House already in support, it could be headed for Governor Maggie Hassan’s desk sometime later this month.

First-time offenders would still lose their license for 60 days and would have to petition a court for approval.

They’d also have to pay for an enhanced ignition interlock device.

The device prevents vehicles from starting if drivers have alcohol on their breath, and Manchester Senator Donna Soucy says provides other measures of protection.

“The latest enhanced technology devices provide real-time data to law enforcement whenever a person fails a breath test, has another person blow into the device, or violates other requirements.”

Soucy says the program will help first-time offenders stay employed, get the rehabilitation they need, or get medical treatment.

The proposal is similar to drunk-driving programs in 20 other states.

Governor Hassan says she’s carefully reviewing the proposal, adding that it’s important to keep roads safe.