Lawmakers say law expanding ignition interlocks will save lives

Lawmakers say law expanding ignition interlocks will save lives
Sara McKinney (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Sara McKinney (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Sen. Morgan McGarvey (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Sen. Morgan McGarvey (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Supporters of a new law that will expand the use of ignition interlocks say it will save lives.

The new legislation takes effect on Thursday, June 25.

The device is wired into a vehicles ignition system and the driver must blow into it, like a breathalyzer, in order to start the car. If the driver's blood alcohol level is over a .02, the car will not start.

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Sara McKinney's brother was killed by a drunk driver in 1992. Since then she has turned her pain into action in an effort to try to figure out what can stop repeat offenders from getting behind the wheel.

"There are some answers that can prevent other families from experiencing the same tragedy that we did and the answer that I saw through my research, the best one was the ignition interlock," McKinney said.

More than a decade ago, McKinney opened an ignition interlock installation center. She's seen the success stories and that's why she helped lobby to get Senate Bill 133 passed.

"In the states that have passed an ignition interlock device, they have seen a 30 percent decrease in DUI fatalities," Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, said.

McGarvey said if it's a person's second DUI or if an aggravator is committed, it qualifies for ignition interlock.

"So if you are driving the wrong way on a highway, if you have a .15 blood alcohol content or higher, if you driving while intoxicated with kids in the car, these are the type of aggravators which will automatically put you in a pool for an ignition interlock device," McGarvey said.

The device could take the place of a suspended license and it comes at a cost.

"This is a punishment," McGarvey said. "You still have been caught and you have been convicted of driving under the influence, but it also allows you to operate a car still, but do so in a way that doesn't jeopardize anybody else's safety."

"While I know that just passing this law doesn't get us to where exactly we want to be, it's a great start," McKinney said. "I'm sure it will take us a couple years for everything to get ironed out, but it is a law that will save a lot of lives."

McGarvey said the devices do not cost the taxpayer anything. The offender would have to pay about $60 to $100 a month.

Most will be required to use ignition interlock for 18 months.

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