Senate panel OKs bill that would require drivers who refuse breathalyzers to install interlock devices

New Year's Eve drunk driving Uber
'We have so many issues on the road, and I just don’t want the innocent drivers to be victims.'

Sen. Nick DiCeglie is bringing back legislation that would require drivers who have their license suspended for a suspected DUI to install interlock devices in their cars, even if they refused a breathalyzer.

The legislation (SB 260) moved through its first committee stop in front of the Senate Transportation Committee, but not without some questions from Democrats on the panel.

Democratic Sen. Victor Torres asked DiCeglie about the cost not just to install the device, but also to recharge or fix the device.

“I ran this bill last year and I know there’s some concern with some folks about the cost of this. But I will tell you that I look at this as simply a matter of accountability for folks who get pulled over for driving under the influence and refusing that breathalyzer test,” DiCeglie responded.

“As we talk about, you know, the costs and things like that, I’m sensitive to that too. But we are talking about, you know, we are talking about lives here. And there’s no dollar amount for, you know, attempting to save lives. And I think the easiest way for folks not to get into this, you know, situation is don’t drink and drive.”

Democratic Sen. Tracie Davis also raised similar concerns about the cost to drivers. DiCeglie did, however, signal a willingness to look into fees and get more information as the bill continues moving forward.

The Indian Rocks Beach Republican said the bill contains due process for individuals challenging a license suspension after refusing a breathalyzer.

“If a person whose driver license is suspended for refusal to submit to a lawful breath test has his or her driver license suspension invalidated for any reason under this section, the requirement … that he or she install an ignition interlock device for refusal to submit to a lawful test of his or her breath is waived,” the legislation reads.

But Aaron Wayt, Legislative Chair for the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, spoke against the bill, citing costs as well as administrative challenges when dealing with a client’s license suspension. He encouraged lawmakers to speak with defense lawyers to better understand those challenges.

If the suspension is upheld, the device would need to be installed for up to one year, under the proposed legislation.

DiCeglie tried pushing similar legislation last year. The House approved the measure but the Senate did not.

A representative from the SPLC Action Fund also spoke Wednesday against this year’s version, citing costs for low-income individuals to install and maintain the devices.

A speaker on behalf of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, however, spoke in favor of the legislation.

Torres closed by again mentioning his concerns about costs.

“I just want to make sure the cost of it is reasonable,” he said. Ultimately, however, Torres supported the measure.

“We have so many issues on the road, and I just don’t want the innocent drivers to be victims.”

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


  • Dont Say FLA

    December 13, 2023 at 1:53 pm

    I assume State of Florida Government SUVs now have these contraptions after that inexplicable Rhonda Campaign pileup in Tennessee.

  • Marty Brinley

    December 14, 2023 at 10:59 pm

    The breathalyzer used in Florida is notoriously inaccurate and has been banned in many jurisdictions but Florida makes a lot of money from it and the citizen doesn’t have the resources to challenge the results of the machine. This law makes a presumption of guilt from the exercise of the fifth amendment of the US Constitution..

    • Rick Whitaker

      December 16, 2023 at 9:35 am

      marty brinley, if you are not a drunk driver why would you object to more controls over drunk drivers ? your ” notoriously inaccurate ” comment sounds like something a drunk driver would say. i prefer a road free from drunks.

Comments are closed.


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