New Mexico legislators and public safety officials have been wrestling with some of the highest incidence of drunk driving in the nation. Not so long ago they passed a new law requiring anyone convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol to install an ignition interlock device. These devices require the driver to self-administer and pass a breathalyzer test attached to their vehicle before the engine will start. Those convicted of drunk driving, even their first offense have to install and use the device for a full year.

Unfortunately, even with these requirements the incidence of drunk driving has fluctuated very little.

Now New Mexico legislators are talking about taking their fight against drunk driving one step further. A new bill floating through the New Mexico legislature now would ban anyone convicted of drunk driving and assigned an ignition interlock device from buying alcohol anywhere in the state.

In 2011 New Mexico had the 8th highest rate of drunk driving in the nation. That was down from its fourth place position in 2001, but still much too high for some New Mexico legislators.

If New Mexico approves this new bill and makes it the law of the land they will become the first state to use such a tactic to discourage drunk driving. In Alaska a judge can order a convicted offender not to buy alcohol, but this happens on an individual basis.

The proposed New Mexico bill would require anyone convicted of drunk driving to have a special emblem placed on their driver’s license. Anyone displaying a marked identification card would be prohibited from buying alcohol at bars, restaurants, the grocery store-anywhere.

Not everyone is sold on the idea of restricting the sale to alcohol to drunk driving offenders, but there certainly is a significant number of legislators who are. The proposed bill passed the New Mexico House of Representatives on a vote of 59-to-5.