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State Legislator Plans Bill Requiring Ignition Interlock For All First-Time Drunken Drivers

Device Won't Allow Cars To Start If Drivers Have Been Drinking

Jay Kleeman (CC-BY-NC-ND)

An ignition interlock device would be required for first-time drunken driving offenders in Wisconsin under a bill that might soon be introduced in the state Legislature.

The interlock devices require drivers to provide a breath sample. If any or too much alcohol is detected, the vehicle won’t start.

State Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, said he is seeking co-sponsors on the bill. Larson said the year-end holidays are an appropriate time to start this discussion.

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“(Because) people go to holiday parties, they’re not thinking and next thing you know, something like this happens and a life is ended and other lives are shattered,” he said.

Larson said ignition interlock devices can be required for first-time offenders now, but for those well above the blood-alcohol limit.

The Tavern League of Wisconsin opposed a similar bill last year, but officials didn’t provide a response to WPR’s request for comment about Larson’s proposal.