State Sen. Chris Larson, one of Oak Creek's representatives in the state Legislature, is proposing a bill that would require ignition interlock devices for all first-time convicted drunken drivers.
Larson said that IIDs have forced offenders to change their behavior and have helped reduce the number of repeat offenders. Anyone with an IID installed would not be able to start their vehicle with a blood-alcohol level above .02.
"Our lax drunk driving laws and record number of binge drinkers has thrust Wisconsin into the national spotlight, keeping us ranked as one of the worst states for drunk driving offenses in the country," Larson wrote in his weekly newsletter.
"It is time that we do more to stop the fatalities, injuries, and property loss caused by drunk drivers."
Larson, a Democrat from Bay View, is co-sponsoring the legislation with Democratic state Rep. Tony Staskunas of West Allis. Larson said the bill already has bipartisan support.
The bill would strengthen a measure passed in the 2009-10 Legislative session which required IIDs for repeat offenders and for people whose first offense was with a blood-alcohol content of .15.
Larson said many first-time offenders have been able to "successfully plea bargain their BAC level below .15 in an effort to avoid the installation of IIDs." His bill would apply to any first-time convicted drunken driver regardless of their alcohol concentration.
"I am calling on members of the Legislature to whole-heartedly support this bill that will serve as a significant step towards reducing drunk driving in Wisconsin and in turn increase public safety," he said.