States that don’t enact and enforce laws following federal guidelines for “repeat intoxicated drivers” will lose part of their federal highway funding.
Under a new rule mandated by Congress, states must impose the following minimum penalties for the second and subsequent “driving while intoxicated” or “driving under the influence” convictions:
1. A minimum one-year license suspension.
2. Impoundment or immobilization of the driver’s vehicles or installation of an ignition interlock system.
3. An assessment of the person’s degree of alcohol abuse and treatment as appropriate.
4. A mandatory minimum sentence of not less than 5 days in jail or 30 days of community service for the second conviction and a minimum 10 days in jail or 60 days of community service for the third and subsequent convictions.
States that don’t comply by Oct. 1, 2001, will lose 1.5% of federal highway funding. Those not in compliance by Oct. 1, 2002 will lose 3% of their apportioned funds.
Federal regulations already require a one-year disqualification for truck drivers convicted of operating a commercial vehicle while intoxicated (drivers convicted while hauling hazardous materials are disqualified for three years.) The second and subsequent convictions carry a lifetime disqualification although there are provisions for reinstatement after 10 years if state rehabilitation standards are met.