Mississippi lawmakers are looking to beef up the state’s existing laws against driving under the influence of alcohol. The new bill is clearly meant as a deterrent as it increases the punishment for first time offenders and repeat offenders.

Members of both houses of the Mississippi congress found common ground on the changes and the new bill has now gone before Governor Phil Bryant for signing. The governor has been mum of the new bill so far, but it seems likely the new bill will become the law of the land very soon.

Among the proposed changes to the states drunk driving laws are a stipulation that anyone convicted of four drunk driving offenses would automatically be charged with a felony and face serious jail time. The bill also states that first time drunk driving offenses would result in a 90-day suspension of driving privileges, or allow the judge to order the convicted to driver to install an interlock ignition device for six months.

In states where ignition interlock devices are mandatory for first time drunk driving convictions the incidence of repeat offenses has dramatically decline. This has led many states to implement similar laws, with the aim being to not only convince all drivers not to drive while intoxicated, but to also cut down on the incidence of repeat drunk driving offenses. Repeat drunk driving offenses are among the most difficult driving safety concerns to control. Ignition interlock devices, however, have a chilling effect on repeat offenses because they actually prevent drunk drivers from operating their vehicles when they are drunk.

This seems a good first step to keeping drunk drivers off the road permanently.