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Bill aims to crack down on drunk drivers

5 years 2 months 2 weeks ago Sunday, May 05 2019 May 5, 2019 May 05, 2019 9:37 PM May 05, 2019 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- A bill that sailed through a house committee last week will make it harder for drunk drivers to re-offend if it becomes law. 

The law closes a loophole that would require all first-time offenders to have an ignition interlock device. Currently, not all first-time offenders have to get one.

Tara Broom knows first-hand how an impaired driver impacted her life. Two and a half years ago her husband was killed when he was hit head-on by a driver who was impaired. Ashley Covington received a 22-year sentence for her crime that left the Broom family heartbroken. 

"I've had to figure out how to raise my child on my own, and just everyday life has changed, nothing is the same anymore," Broom said. 

If house bill 580 becomes law, an interlock device would be required for first-time offenders. A second conviction would require the offender to have an interlock device for at least four years depending on their blood alcohol level. Those interlock devices have reduced re-offense rates nearly 67 percent. 

"It's going to fix the loophole in the current law regarding ignition interlock," Valerie Cox with Mothers Against Drunk Driving said. "It would require all offenders to have it in their vehicles." 

Although the law comes a little too late to help the Broom family, it's a welcome change to state law that they hope will prevent other families from dealing with the heartache they've faced. 

"I want people to know they have to make positive choices in life," Broom said. "There choice to drive impaired affects other people and it's something you shouldn't do and risk it." 

The bill was authored by Representative Royce Duplessis out of New Orleans. It's up for discussion this week at the capitol. 

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