The Florida House Committee on Infrastructure recently agreed that first-time DUI Offenders with a Blood Alcohol level of .15 (nearly twice the legal limit) have earned the right to have an Ignition Interlock device installed on their vehicle. A bill (HB 369) presented by Florida Representative David Simmons (R) and strongly supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving recently moved forward with the unanimous approval of the committee.
“This is a good piece of legislation that will save lives,” stated MADD Florida’s CEO, Donald Murray. “It is essentially an inoculation against repeat DUI offenses. Drivers, who have made the decision to drive while impaired, will be far less likely to re-offend while the Interlock device is installed on their vehicle.” About one third of all DUI arrests involve repeat offenders.
Among those speaking to the Committee on behalf of this bill was Anna Redgate, whose nine-month old daughter, Grace, was killed by a repeat DUI offender in a horrific crash that tore Grace’s stroller from her mother’s grasp while taking an evening walk.
“It’s very simple,” Mrs. Redgate told the Committee. “If this man had not been able to start his car, Grace would be alive today. He was driving with an extremely high blood alcohol content…three-times the legal limit…and was a repeat offender.”
Ignition Interlock devices are about the size of a cell phone and are wired into the starting circuit of a car or truck. Drivers must blow into the device prior to starting and in just a few seconds, the device will determine if the operator is drunk or sober. For sober drivers, the vehicle will start as normal but will not start if the operator is drunk. Recent advances in technology make these sophisticated devices quite reliable and resistant to tampering and “cheating”. Small computers under the hood store all data related to the use of the devices and this data is periodically downloaded with information provided to the Department of Motor Vehicles for monitoring.
“The bill has one more stop in the House and then the Senate must pass their version of the bill but we can’t imagine any reason why any legislator would not want to support this bill,” continued Redgate. “I’ve just learned that they’re going to name the bill Grace’s Law after my daughter. I’m very touched by this honor.”