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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 2246 into law, making Texas the 25th state in the nation to require all convicted drunk drivers to install an ignition interlock system in their cars if they choose to drive during their license suspension period.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), ignition interlocks reduced the number of drunk driving deaths in other states by up to 45 percent.

In 2013, Texas led the nation in drunk driving fatalities with 1,337 drunk driver deaths or 40 percent of all traffic deaths. There were 71,030 DUI convictions this past year in the state of Texas alone.

“MADD applauds Governor Greg Abbott for signing HB 2246, and Representative Jason Villalba and Senator Joan Huffman for authoring the bill on this critical issue in Texas,” said MADD North Texas Executive Director Jason Derscheid.

The ignition interlock is about the size of a cellphone and is installed on the vehicle’s dashboard. Drivers must blow into the device’s analyzer before the vehicle will start. If the sensor detects any elevated blood alcohol level, the vehicle’s starter system will not engage.

To avoid having someone else blow into the analyzer, the ignition interlock system has several “running retests.” These retests require the driver to provide random samples while driving. If the driver fails the test, the vehicle’s horn will sound and/or the vehicle’s lights will flash while the car stops.

The ignition interlock system costs about $70 to $150 to install and about $60 to $80 for monthly monitoring and calibration. Violators almost always pay for these fees.

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