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.

Pauline Tanem December 03, 2011 at 12:54 PM
go Chris I'm all for that anything that will keep the drunks from driving. I value my family and other families. Pauline Tanem Oak Creek supporter of this bill
Margaret Coonan December 04, 2011 at 04:09 AM
First time!! I don't think so. I can see it for the multiple offenders.
GearHead December 05, 2011 at 03:10 AM
Pardon my cynicism but thinking Larson must know the guys that would end up with the state contract for installing and maintaining the IIDs? Nice little piece of state pie if you can get it. Typical liberal solution to expect a mechanical device to substitute for justice. Where was his vote on convicting (and punishing) drunks?
Jacob Crawford December 05, 2011 at 03:16 PM
Well, when we are seeing 4th and sometimes 5th offenders, is justice really working?
Dustin Block December 05, 2011 at 08:00 PM
What's the downside?
Pamela December 06, 2011 at 07:04 PM
Pack'em, Rack'em and Stack'em into small jail cells. Standing room only. NO soft cot or pillow for their stupid heads. That would be a good deterent to the next person thinking of choosing to be irresponsible with a rolling weapon. That goes for anyone who harms or illegally takes from another. Can you imagine how the rate of crime would drop if a prison was really a true prison and the time in it was enough to fit the crime they committed. There should be zero tolerance shown to anyone over 5 years old. By then we all know right.....from wrong.
GearHead December 07, 2011 at 09:46 PM
Nannie-ism at its finest. That's the downside Dustin. Worse, it is a defensive measure that costs a lot and has no demonstrated success. I've heard these things can be beat by blowing up a balloon before you go on a bender. Then use the balloon instead of your breath. Problem solved (for the drunk). Should we install ignition interlocks on motorcycles to keep dudes from riding away without a helmet? What about interlocks to prevent Republicans from driving to the voting polls? (Beats slashing their tires, eh?). How 'bout we all have interlocks so we can only drive our cars on odd or even days? Wouldn't that save a lot of gas? Where does it end? Why do we feel up little kids and grandmothers when we know darn well who it is that blows up airplanes? Because some liberal feels better, that's why. Chris Larson hasn't done much to distinguish himself beyond running away to another state to avoid doing his duty. So why should we be suprised when he finds yet another way to spend other peoples money? Wouldn't the best approach be going on offense, instead of taking defensive postures? That means prison for drunks, instead of giving them fourth and fifth chances. You want to know why we have high taxes? Because guys like you ask "what is the downside?" to dumb@ss proposals like Larson's.
Melville December 07, 2011 at 10:31 PM
Well, that's just not going to happen - now or ever, so deal with it. Good luck rehabilitating anyone with that method either. This is as good as a preventative measure is going to get and just because a Democrat is proposing it, that doesn't mean you have to shoot it down with such vitriol. If it were a Republican's idea, no one would say "boo". This doesn't need to be a political issue, there are a lot bigger fish to fry in that arena. Gearhead, your "where does it end?" nonsense is what rational people refer to as a "slippery slope". I can 100% guarantee that this measure isn't going to lead to skyrocketing use of the ignition control for completely crazy reasons. Sure, now we'll put ignition locks on cars to prevent people from driving too much. Right, buddy. Oh and to prevent Republicans from getting to the polls because Liberals are sick of slashing tires. I think you have an unrealistic view of who uses dirty tricks like that. Having been on the receiving end up such pathetic tactics, I can tell you that it's, at least, even across the political spectrum, if not slightly more heavily practiced on the Right. Are you happy you got out your (completely irrelevant) disdain for airport security? I'd rather we take the better safe than sorry approach to using racial profiling outright as a rule. Oh and TAXES! What do you think costs the Govt. more? Supporting overcrowded prisons or installing these ignition locks?
Heather Asiyanbi (Editor) December 07, 2011 at 11:04 PM
@Gearhead - I have seen a demonstration of just what you're saying and the lock is really quite advanced and very difficult to beat. I'm not saying it can't be done, but it is really difficult - http://mountpleasant.patch.com/articles/driving-drunk-can-lead-to-long-term-headache I think this is a good solution since our prisons and jails are overcrowded and drunk drivers aren't being smart enough to keep themselves and the rest of us safe.
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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