Ignition locks sought for DUI offenders

Lawmaker proposes requirement to keep DUI offenders sober while driving

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - One of every four first-time DUI offenders get caught a second time.

The statistic has spurred legislation to require every DUI offender have an ignition lock installed in their vehicle to prove they are sober before their car will start.

The legislation has the support of a Tallahassee woman, Connie Russell, whose son was killed by a drunk driver over Christmas 2006.

If Russell has her way, an ignition lock would be required for everyone convicted of DUI. If the driver doesn't blow into the device every 15 minutes or so to prove that he or she is still sober, the car comes to a slow stop.

Even the company that leases the devices across much of the Florida has reservations.

"Their concern that there is a tipping point when if people are beginning to pay so much more, they sometimes drop out of the system and then they are again drivers without licenses without insurance and without interlock," said Mannheimer.

Lawmakers tabled the idea for now, which puzzled both the bill's sponsor and Russell.

"We're trying to save lives. It's as simple as that, trying saving lives," said Fla. Sen. Dorthy Hukill, R-Volusia County.

"Saving lives is the most important, not the drunk driver who already made the choice, the illegal choice," said Russell.

Another hearing for the bill has not been scheduled.

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