MADD planning legislative push for more ignition interlocks
|MADD would like these to be required for all DWI offenders who want to continue driving.|
RELATED: MADD calls upon Minnesota to legalize sobriety checkpoints
But Jennifer Freeburg, Minnesota executive director for MADD, says her organization plans to push for a stronger ignition interlock law during the 2015 legislative session.
"We will be creating a legislative agenda -- we already started to work on it," Freeburg said. "It won't be for 2014 because of the 'unsession,' but we're aiming for a strengthening of the ignition interlock program in '15."
Currently, first-time Minnesota DWI offenders with an alcohol concentration level of 0.16 or above and all repeat offenders are required to install an ignition interlock device for a minimum of one year. Freeburg said MADD would like to see the devices, which typically cost offenders about $100 for installation and an additional $50-$100 per month to lease, required for all DWI offenders regardless of their blood alcohol level.
Legalizing sobriety checkpoints, which would require a constitutional amendment, is something MADD hopes to accomplish further down the road, Freeburg added.
"Definitely, sobriety checkpoints are a long-term goal, but I think the effect of ignition interlocks is higher, and because of the way the constitutional is written, [sobriety checkpoints] wouldn't just be a legislative change but would have to go to the voters and there'd be a lot of work behind it," Freeburg said.
But MADD doesn't currently have a budget for lobbying in Minnesota, so whatever legislative advocacy it does comes via media releases like the recent state-by-state breakdown of drunk driving laws and from the work of the organization's volunteer committee.
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