Senators propose bill to combat drunk driving
Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Tom Udall (D-NM) on Dec. 21 proposed legislation that, beginning in 2012, would withhold transportation funding from states that do not enact laws requiring installation of alcohol ignition interlocks on the vehicles of convicted drunk drivers.
The Drunk Driving Repeat Offender Prevention Act of 2009 (S. 2920) would require the devices to be in place for a minimum of six months following a drunk driver's conviction. Alcohol ignition interlocks prevent a vehicle's engine from starting if the driver's breath reveals an alcohol level above the legal limit.
States failing to comply would have a percentage of federal transportation funding withheld each fiscal year: 1 percent in 2012; 3 percent in 2013; and 5 percent in 2014 and each fiscal year thereafter. Ten states currently have laws that require an ignition interlock for all convicted drunk driving: Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nebraska, Washington and New York.