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State Sen. Larson's Bill Would Increase Use Of Ignition Interlock Devices

Bill would force all convicted drunken drivers to install ignition interlock devices.

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.

Read the entire proposed bill here.

GearHead December 07, 2011 at 11:27 PM
Thanks for your rant. It made my day! As for your last question, I have no problem paying taxes to keep dangerous people in prison. It is one of the few legitimate purposes of government. Overcrowding prisons will keep killers from getting behind the wheel. Ignition locks won't.
GearHead December 07, 2011 at 11:34 PM
@ HeatherA. How is that ignition lock gonna prevent someone from borrowing their friend or relatives car? They have already been suspended or revoked as well. So they can't drive anyway, right? But they still can vote. (They just go get a free vote ID.) Your solution makes sense until it smacks into the reality of the real world.
Melville December 08, 2011 at 12:03 AM
So, what's your beef, guy? I thought this was about taxes being too high, but your real problem is that it isn't harsh enough and therefore compromises the public's safety? Shouldn't you appreciate any efforts being made to reduce drunk driving? It's not always going to keep drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel of a car, but it's going to stop some. It's not going to be 0% effective. Preventing ANY such acts is plus and potentially life-saving. Not all drunk drivers are habitual maniacs. You're right, some people are going to remain scofflaws, but it's perfectly reasonable to assume that this measure might prevent 1st time offenders from becoming 2nd time offenders. Your solution also fails to makes sense in the real world. You can't just lock everyone up. It's not fiscally or logistically possible. Are you happy with the way the law is currently? Is the only solution you'll accept the extremist one? That, or none at all? No law is 100% effective. Appreciate that something is being done and that it will improve safety.
GearHead December 08, 2011 at 03:27 PM
@ Melville. My beef, if I have one is that I'm naturally leery of government programs designed to make me safe. All such programs never solve the problem at hand, and create a few more in the process, not to mention at staggering unsustainable cost. It's called the law of unintended consequences... one that dopey state senators rarely consider, because they are off slaying the next mythical dragon - again with their hands in our pockets. A triumph of symbolism over substance might make a pol look good, and might make you feel good, but a rational thinking person understands it accomplishes little good. On the other hand, truth in sentancing does a lot of good. The threat of real time will keep more buzzed drivers off the road than an interlock will.
GearHead December 08, 2011 at 03:33 PM
And I might add the best way to keep drunks from getting behind the wheel, is removing the keys from your friend's hands if he/she has imbibed too much. Behavior modification at its finest, at no cost to the taxpayer. Works every time!

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