The Hard Suspension Barrier: Does New Mexico’s Interlock Licensing Law Solve the Problem?

This paper describes how mandatory programs that currently exist may conflict with license suspension/revocation laws. Although several states have mandated interlocks for multiple driving under the influence (DUI) offenders, these programs have generally failed to produce a high proportion of offenders on interlocks. An important barrier to the effectiveness of these laws has been the conflicting requirements of laws mandating administrative license actions by departments of motor vehicles (DMVs). These include implied-consent suspensions/revocations for refusals of the breath test, administrative license revocation/suspension (ALR/ALS) laws for offenders with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) higher than the per se limit, and mandatory suspensions/revocations for a DUI conviction. These laws generally specify a minimum period of full or “hard” license suspension/revocation for a DUI offender that precludes the issuance of a limited or “hardship” license or a limited license for driving an interlock-equipped vehicle. Judges have generally been unwilling to require the installation of an interlock when the offender is fully suspended or revoked and unable to drive legally under any circumstances. California provides an example for such a conflict. State law requires a two-year hard suspension for second DUI offenders and, simultaneously, requires judges to impose a mandatory interlock condition on multiple offenders. Despite the interlock mandate, few judges applied the sanction. Further, the interlock programs were poorly monitored and consequently they appeared to have little impact on recidivism. Federal legislation, in reauthorization of the Highway Safety Act – the “Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century” (TEA-21) – required states to enact a minimum one-year hard suspension for second DUI offenders or face a 3% transfer of their highway construction funds to safety programs. Because imposition of the interlock by the court following conviction was in conflict with the mandatory one-year hard suspension/revocation, a number of states enacted laws requiring offenders to install the interlock as a condition for license reinstatement after they had completed the hard suspension/revocation period. Many offenders do not reinstate when eligible and some postpone reinstatement indefinitely; therefore, the effectiveness of that procedure remains to be determined.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: pp 53-56
  • Monograph Title: Alcohol Interlock Programs: Pushing Back the Frontiers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01053884
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 092007152x
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 9 2007 12:28PM