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Thursday, 31 October 2013 11:27

State House approves measures to help curb repeat drunken driving, keep motorists safer

(AREA) -- The House unanimously approved legislation this week that helps curb repeat drunk driving and keeps motorists safer. The measure, introduced by State Representative Dan Lauwers of Brockway Township, would help create a sobriety court interlock program throughout Michigan. The program allows repeat offenders to receive a restricted drivers license after installing an ignition interlock device on each vehicle the driver owns or operates.

"An ignition interlock device is a proven method to stop drunken driving and help keep our roadways safer for everybody," said Lauwers, R-Brockway Township. "Motorists who continually drink and drive are a threat to themselves and to others, and we must find ways to curtail this type of behavior."

A three-year pilot interlock program in Michigan currently is set to end January 2014. Participants had lower drug and alcohol use than nonparticipants and also had a lower recidivism rate than for other criminal offenses, according to an evaluation released by the Michigan Association of Drug Court Professionals.

"People with repeat drunken driving offenses still need to provide for their families, and an interlock device would allow them to drive to work while keeping them sober," Lauwers said. "Any program that proves successful in combatting drunken driving should be duplicated across the state, and this legislation is a huge step in the right direction."

House Bill 5021, part of a two-bill package, now goes to the Senate for consideration.