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Lawmakers propose bill to give special license to DUI offenders

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Every year, local law enforcement officials remind people celebrating St. Patrick's Day to designate a sober driver. Now, Nevada lawmakers are doing their part to crack down on drunk driving as well, though.

This week, Sen. Mark Manendo introduced SB 259 that would give people who are arrested for DUI seven days to sign up for a special license.

Rather than having their licensed revoked for 90 days, the special license would allow people convicted of DUI to only drive vehicles equipped with Ignition Interlock Devices (IID).

The DUI offenders would be responsible for having the device installed in their vehicles at their own expense. They would have to remain in the program for at least six months to avoid losing their license.

The goal of SB 259 is to cut down on repeat DUI offenses. The IID would prevent DUI convicts from being able to start their car if they have been drinking.

In 2015, alcohol-related fatalities rose in Nevada at quadruple the national rate. In the same year, 97 people died in drunk driving crashes in Nevada.

However, research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that IIDs reduce drunken driving offenses by 67 percent. The same research suggests IIDs are 99 percent effective in blocking the vehicle start.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving released a report on Tuesday showing that IIDs stopped 855 vehicle starts in Nevada last year because the driver was over the legal limit. Nevada had 1,115 active devices in 2016. In the past decade, IIDs have stopped 6,222 impaired driving starts in the Silver State.

SB 259 has received support from both sides of the aisle. 15 senators from both political parties have signed the bill as cosponsors.

There are 300,000 incidents of drunk driving every day in the U.S. In the past 5 yeas, 252 people lost their lives over the St. Patrick's Day holiday weekend.

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