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September/October 2014 Issue

Mississippi stiffens drunk driving law

Motorists convicted of drunk driving in Mississippi will now be required to blow into an ignition interlock device if they want to keep driving.

Under a new law that takes effect Oct. 1, all convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater who seek to drive during license suspension will be mandated to have an ignition interlock placed in their cars. The device, which drivers blow into, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol content is above a prescribed limit, which in Mississippi is .03 BAC for motorists 21 and older and .02 for drivers under 21.

For the first offense, offenders will have their license suspended for 90 days and until they complete an alcohol safety education program. In the court’s discretion, the license may be suspended for 30 days and the offender must operate a vehicle under an ignition interlock restricted license for 90 days following the mandatory 30-day suspension. On subsequent DUI charges, the device would have to be installed for longer periods of time. The offender must pay the cost of the installation of the device, which cannot exceed $150, and the user fee, which can’t exceed $2.50 per day.

With the passage of this law, Mississippi becomes the 22nd state to adopt such legislation.



Costs climb for uninsured drivers in Louisiana

In an effort to discourage Louisiana motorists from driving without insurance, lawmakers have drastically increased the fees and fines for driving without mandatory liability coverage.

Under a law that took effect July 1, drivers caught without insurance will be fined at least $75, up from $50. Also, the fees for reinstatement of driving privileges rose to $100 from $25 if the motorist drives uninsured from one to 30 days and to $250 from $100 if uninsured for 31–90 days. Those who let their coverage lapse for 91 days or more will pay $500, up from $200.

The fees are expected to raise $53 million, which will be used to pay for an insurance verification system that authorities can use on the spot in traffic checks and to boost state police salaries.


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