When you’re trying to take on a task as difficult as putting a full and final stop to drunk driving, there’s a lot of different laws that may get passed: some easy to understand and some controversial.
Take New Mexico for example: with more and more states getting on board with all offender ignition interlock laws, passing a New Mexico ignition interlock law was a fairly easy decision. Now they’ve taken a step into controversial territory by trying to pass a ban that would result in New Mexico drunk driving laws being among harshest in the entire country.
A recent proposal set in front of the New Mexico House committee would require the banning of alcohol for all of New Mexico’s repeat drunk drivers. Not only would it restrict alcohol purchases for anyone convicted of New Mexico drunk driving for a third time, the ban would restrict them for life. For these offenders there would be no chance to appeal the ban for ten years.
The proposed law was slightly more lenient for second time offenders: anyone convicted for a second New Mexico drunk driving offense would not be allowed to purchase or consume alcohol for one year.
Although the proposal did have support, a vote was recently taken and the bill was tabled indefinitely. The lawmakers behind the bill felt that New Mexico drunk driving laws needed to change to include this measure because the state has one of the highest rates of alcohol-related deaths in the entire country, but opponents saw a problem with enforcement of such a law.
It may be simple to pass certain drunk driving laws, but it’s not always easy to enforce them. Just like it’s a big task enforcing ignition interlock penalties for all offenders, it would also be extremely difficult to restrict and monitor alcohol sales and the consumption of alcohol for these convicted drunk drivers.
This ban is an idea that stems from a good place: a strong desire to end drunk driving, and although it may not work now in New Mexico, it could be something New Mexico lawmakers bring back in the future.