Our Opinion: Law cracks down on drunken driving

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Installation of interlock ignition devices is an effective way to reduce drunken driving deaths that hasn't gotten legislative support. That must change this weekend.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) will join families of drunk driving victims on the State House steps this morning at 10 to urge the House to pass SB 2445, its version of a bill that the Senate passed last weekend. The legislation requires first-time drunken drivers to operate a motor vehicle only with an ignition interlock device. Drivers with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or more would be unable to start their vehicle.

Massachusetts is the only New England state that does nor require ignition interlocks for first-time drunken driving offenders, and it is not for a lack of trying. Advocates have been trying to get an ignition interlock bill through the Legislature without success since 2008. According to MADD statistics, 40 percent of all traffic deaths in the state are caused by drunken driving.

About the only argument that has come forward against mandating ignition interlock devices is that drunken driving offenders who drive company vehicles could lose their jobs if their employers don't want to install the devices. Actually, that would provide a powerful incentive for those employees to not drink and drive. Beacon Hill shouldn't be worrying about the plight of those who choose to drink and drive. It should instead pass a law that will save lives.


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