Advertisement

Archive for Monday, January 24, 2011

Mothers Against Drunk Driving pushing to pass law requiring first-time DUI offenders to install ignition interlocks

January 24, 2011

Advertisement

State legislators are sifting through rhetoric from two national lobbying groups that disagree on just how far governments should go to prevent drunken driving.

Reader poll
Do you favor requiring first-time DUI offenders to use ignition interlock devices?

or See the results without voting

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is pushing the Kansas Legislature to pass a law that would require first-time DUI offenders to install ignition interlocks on their vehicles. Ignition interlocks require drivers to blow into a device that registers blood-alcohol content levels. If a driver is above a legal limit, a 0.08 BAC in Kansas, then the vehicle won’t start.

“From MADD’s perspective, anyone who violates the public trust by illegally driving drunk with a BAC of 0.08 deserves the ignition interlock,” said Frank Harris, state legislative affairs manager for MADD.

The American Beverage Institute, which represents more than 100 restaurants in Kansas, believes the bill will set an overreaching precedent for all drivers.

Currently, Kansas requires ignition interlocks for repeat DUI offenders and first-time offenders who have a BAC of almost twice the legal limit. The American Beverage Institute supports that existing law but believes judges should have more discretion when it comes to first-time offenders.

A 120-pound women who drinks two glasses of wine in two hours and drove would be treated the same as an average guy who had 10 drinks, said Sarah Longwell, managing director for the American Beverage Institute.

“Under this rationale, it would be like someone who is one mile over the speed limit would be the same as someone 30 miles over,” Longwell said.

Harris said the law would target binge drinkers, not social drinkers.

The Kansas bill is part of a larger campaign for MADD, which wants all convicted drunken drivers in every state to have ignition interlocks.

“It helps to reduce DUIs. It’s not a silver bullet, but it’s one thing to build your DUI law around,” Harris said.

The organization also is working with other groups on technology that would equip cars with a less obtrusive device for detecting drivers over the legal limit.

It’s the thought of that device that worries Longwell.

“We’re drawing a line in the sand,” Longwell said. “This technology is great, but it should only be used by offenders, hard core offenders.”

So far, 13 states have required first-time DUI offenders to install ignition interlocks on their vehicles. In Kansas, the devices would be put in place for a year following the first-time offender’s one-year driving suspension.

The proposal for ignition interlocks is part of Senate Bill 7, which also includes legislation for having repeat DUI offenders serve prison time and tougher laws for drivers who refuse to take a breath test.

Both MADD and the American Beverage Institute have plans to testify in person when the bill goes into Senate hearings this week.

Comments

Mark Zwahl 3 years, 10 months ago

They didn't bother with an ignition interlock for a man I know. They took away his license. So he kept driving drunk. Until he crashed again...

cowboy 3 years, 10 months ago

I have always thought that the more impact you have on arrest the longer lasting the lesson learned. Keep DUI offenders in jail for 48 hours before setting bail. Let there be some actual inconvenience , learning time , involved in the arrest process. Now you are out in an hour or so.

Simple learning theory is that the punishment applied must be immediate to have any impact. You get bonded out in an hour then take six months to work your way thru court. This is not a traumatic event.

Ignition interlocks just make money for the monitoring companies. They can go get another car in a heartbeat if they want to.

imastinker 3 years, 10 months ago

I don't have much sympathy for people that drive drunk - but I wish they made things a little more clear with the law. I have felt tipsy after one beer before, and had six and not felt tipsy before.

I assume my BAC was higher after six beers than one - but really have no idea. The whole thing is pretty subjective unless you are the one with the breathalyzer. Maybe they should be spending their money on a campaign to show people how fast their BAC hits .08 after drinking, like showing up at bars in town with a breathalyzer and letting people blow into it to see how drunk they are. I for one would like to know this information.

imastinker 3 years, 10 months ago

I don't have much sympathy for people that drive drunk - but I wish they made things a little more clear with the law. I have felt tipsy after one beer before, and had six and not felt tipsy before.

I assume my BAC was higher after six beers than one - but really have no idea. The whole thing is pretty subjective unless you are the one with the breathalyzer. Maybe they should be spending their money on a campaign to show people how fast their BAC hits .08 after drinking, like showing up at bars in town with a breathalyzer and letting people blow into it to see how drunk they are. I for one would like to know this information.

CHEEZIT 3 years, 10 months ago

How special there's an ad for a DUI lawyer on this strory!!!

sr80 3 years, 10 months ago

if you got the cash i'll make sure you can still get smashed! dewey,cheatum,&howe att. at law.

sr80 3 years, 10 months ago

you think they will do that to a politician or police officer give me a break!

missmagoo 3 years, 10 months ago

I would support this if the driver's BAC was over something ridiculous.. like 2.0 or if the driver was involved in a multiple-vehicle accident.. but the way this is written now... RIDICULOUS! These mom's need to have a glass of wine and relax. :)

mr_right_wing 3 years, 10 months ago

Way too lenient.

1st convicted offense (if you don't kill anyone) your license is gone for one year; 'hardship' exemptions allowed, but strict--only to work or medical appointments IF public transportation is unavailable.

2nd convicted offense (or if you kill someone with the first convicted offense) you're done with getting a DL in Kansas, period. No 'hardship' exceptions.

Drunk drivers and deadbeat parents are two of the lowest forms of human beings.

mr_right_wing 3 years, 10 months ago

Not a problem, as long as neither of us are planning on doing any driving tonight! ;o)

sr80 3 years, 10 months ago

does that mean i can keep abusing my oxycotin and still drive???

coderob 3 years, 10 months ago

I have no problem with more effective policies, but shouldn't MADD at least consider lobbying for more public transportation funding?

JoRight 3 years, 10 months ago

The only way to get drunks off the road is harsher penalties for driving drunk. The interlocks is just another hurdle, not necessarily a deterrent.

The only winners in this one are the interlock makers & installers.

jasonthesane 3 years, 10 months ago

Why wait until the conviction? How about ignition interlock for all motor vehicles? That would have a huge impact on the number of drunk drivers. Start installing them at the factory for all new cars and provide a tax credit for retrofits.

jcpainting 3 years, 10 months ago

i think this is just stupid. not everyone drives dunk. If they wanted to drive drunk with thterlock installed you can always find someone sober. I use to work at a bar and we had a guy that would leave his car running while he was inside drinking. they should just keep it at two or more

bearded_gnome 3 years, 10 months ago

mr_right_wing, you got that right, but add to it: seizure of car driven on DUI #2 and beyond. death penalty for dui after that.
yes, I am serious.


of course the beverage institute is against this ... duh!

and cowboy, you are right about the initial experience being way too easy!

now, personal revelation: my father died a drunk driver. I saw the devastation first hand that it causes to driver's family, as well as to those he/she hits.

crank up the punishment, crank it way up! make the death penalty televised, too.

mr_right_wing 3 years, 10 months ago

.....if only drunk drivers only killed themselves, not innocent victims...

as in: ...drunk driver dies horrible death, 'victim' walks away unscratched...

Commenting has been disabled for this item.