DWI ignition device bill headed for final voteby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A measure that would require people with multiple drunken driving offenses to use a breath-activated ignition system in their cars is headed to the House and Senate for a final vote.
House and Senate negotiators agreed on the bill last week. It would also require first-time offenders who are convicted of a blood alcohol level of twice the legal limit to use the measure if they want full driving privileges.
DFL Rep. Karla Bigham of Cottage Grove said the bill would prevent drivers from starting their cars if they have alcohol in their system. She said it would also ensure drunken drivers have a pathway for legal driving.
"We have about 40,000 Minnesotans who drive illegally every year with an invalid license or a suspended license which ties up our courts," Bigham said. "[It] makes it difficult for our police department when they keep pulling people for invalid licenses. So this is a pathway to that because or drinking violations."
The House and Senate must take final action on the measure before it's sent to Gov. Pawlenty, who proposed the idea earlier this year.