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Activists Come Out In Favor Of Ignition Interlock Devices For First-Time Drunk Drivers

BOSTON (CBS) – An activist group is pushing the state to keep a closer eye on drunk drivers with first-time convictions.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving have spent a decade pushing for ignition interlocks, which would be connected to the cars 24/7, for DUI offenders. According to MADD, the Commonwealth is the only state that doesn't already have that legislation on the books.

Ignition Interlock Device drunk driving
An ignition interlock device. (WBZ-TV)

Helen Witty, national president of MADD, joined local members at the foot of the Statehouse's Grand Staircase to raise awareness Wednesday.

Witty said the device, "allows the offender to keep living, they can go on to work, they can take their kids to school – as long as they provide a breath that shows they are not drunk. It is a no-brainer."

There are bills making their way through House and Senate committees, and members of MADD are hoping they receive a hearing in the fall.

"We have already waited too long to authorize this important tool which can prevent tragedy on our state's roadways," said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, of Gloucester, who co-sponsored one such bill.

Massachusetts requires interlock devices for all repeat DUI offenders. It is only first-time offenders that are not required to use the device.

According to Tarr's office, over the past dozen years, interlock devices have prevented more than 39,000 attempts to drive drunk in Massachusetts.

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