Ignition interlocks seem like 'no-brainer' for some - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Ignition interlocks seem like 'no-brainer' for some

An ignition interlock An ignition interlock
Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell
Sara Sulier Sara Sulier

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - "It seems like a no brainer." That's the feeling of those fighting to keep drunk drivers off the road about a simple device that has the ability to do it yet we're not using them in Jefferson County or really in any of the surrounding areas. That may soon change.

Just one question has haunted Sara Sulier for two decades.

"Why? Why do people do this?" she said.

She's been trying to find meaning to her brother Jimmy's senseless death after his path crossed a drunk drivers. You probably remember her as Sara McKinney. For years she fought as a state director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Now, she fights for ignition interlock devices. They are installed on vehicles and if a driver drinks too much alcohol the car will not start.

"You protect the people on the highway and you don't punish the offender's family and it's just a win-win for everyone," Sulier said.

"I can't see a down side at all," said Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell.

He is looking at making the devices part of plea agreements for people arrested for second or third offense DUIs in Louisville. Kentucky already has laws that allow it; most areas don't use it.

"Frankly, I think it's regrettable that this state - and particularly our largest urban area - isn't doing this and it needs to be done," said O'Connell.

Sulier said using the devices changes lives as well as saving them.

"I talk to offenders that are in the program and they tell me how it's changed their lives, changed their habits, changed the way they've looked at it, at drinking and driving," she said.

She now runs a company that installs ignition interlock devices. She hasn't made any money, but sometimes profit is not measured in dollars.

"I'm doing it because if I just save one life, I'd prevent one family from going through the pain," said Sulier.

The most common argument against ignition interlocks is the cost; Sulier charges $100 to install them and then $80 a month to monitor after that.

O'Connell said the cost doesn't sway him because people driving are already paying for gas, insurance and whatever it cost them to drink that much in the first place.

He hopes to start using them in plea agreements in the next three or four months.

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