Fifty three thousand drivers were charged with DUI last year. For one-in- four of them, it was a second offense.
Connie Russell’s son was killed by a drunk driver over Christmas 2006. She’s pushing legislation that would require an ignition lock for everyone convicted of DUI. An ignition lock is an instant breathalyzer that tests sobriety. If you don’t blow into the device every fifteen minutes or so to prove that you’re still sober, your car comes to a slow stop.
“We talk about how much is this going to cost them? Let me tell you how much this cost me. How much this cost so many parents.”, says Connie Russell.
The cost per unit is $72.50 a month. And 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.”, says Doug Mannheimer, Interlock Systems of Florida.
Lawmakers tabled the idea for now, which puzzled both the bill’s sponsor. “We’re trying to save lives. It’s as simple as that trying saving lives.”, says Sen. Dorthy Hukill, R-Volusia County.
And the still grieving mother. “Saving lives is the most important, not the drunk driver who already made the choice, the illegal choice.”, says Connie Russell.
Another hearing for the bill hasn’t been scheduled.