A new law in Arizona will lessen the penalty for those convicted the first time of a drunken driving offense. This news doesn’t mean a thing for anyone who has experience defensive driving. They know better.

Starting Sunday drivers who have been convicted of a first time drunken driving offense will have an interlock device added to their vehicle for just six months, instead of the 12-months they have been receiving.

An interlock device requires the driver to self-administer a breathalyzer test before the ignition will start. If the driver tests postives for alcohol, they aren’t going any where.

Even with this latest change Arizona is still one of the toughest states when it comes to drunk drivers. It is one of only 15 states that requires first time offenders to install any type of interlock device.

Arizona first passed a law requiring drunk drivers to install interlock devices in 2001 and in 2007 expanded the law to first-time offenders.

These devices are bought and paid for by the driver, who also pay the $80 monthly maintenance fee. Since the requirement was added to first time offenders the drunk driving rate has decreased significantly, from almost 400 in 2006 to half that number in 2010.

A Defensive driving course teaches the importance of being clean and sober any time you get behind the wheel, but that’s a lesson some people cannot understand.

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