Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Movement Afoot To Repeal Breath Tester Mandate - Local News Story - KPHO Phoenix

Movement Afoot To Repeal Breath Tester Mandate - Local News Story - KPHO Phoenix Just like I have said - These devices do notihign to reduce drunk driving, except for the additional business owners who now can afford limousines based on the money they make from these things! PHOENIX -- The Arizona House signaled its support Tuesday for repealing a new requirement that first-time drunken driving offenders install breath-testing ignition interlocks on their vehicles for at least a year after resuming driving. Republican Rep. John Kavanagh of Fountain Hills urged lawmakers to back out of the earlier decision, saying he has since reviewed studies that conclude the devices don't lead to a reduction in traffic accidents or repeat offenses by first-time offenders. "All I am doing is allowing us to gracefully retreat from what appears to have been a mistake until we can get more data and then make a decision based on fact -- and not wishful thinking," said Kavanagh, who had previously voted for the bill containing the interlock requirement. After clearing its first hurdle at the Legislature, the proposed repeal now moves to a formal vote by the House. Supporters of the interlock requirement said it was an alternative to fines and penalties that don't do enough to change offenders' behavior. Opponents said the requirement unfairly burdens first-time offenders. A drunken driving sentencing bill signed into law nearly a month ago by Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano made Arizona the only state besides New Mexico to have an interlock requirement for first-time drunken driving offenders. The law would take effect later this year. State law now requires repeat drunken drivers or those convicted of extreme or aggravated DUI to use interlocks when their driving privileges are restored. The devices won't allow a vehicle to start if the person's alcohol content is above a certain limit. Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Mesa, leader of the effort to keep the interlock requirement, said studies show the devices contribute to a reduction in repeat offenses and wrecks. "We may not be able to prevent the first-time offenders, because people get out there and drink, but we can reduce the second-time offenders by using this," Biggs said. Democratic Rep. Chad Campbell of Phoenix, who voted for the bill that contained the interlock requirement but now supports the proposed repeal, said the financial penalties and embarrassment of a drunken driving conviction are probably enough to prevent first-time offenders from making the mistake again. "There is no definitive answer about the impact (the requirement) would have," said Campbell, who, like Kavanagh, had previously expressed reservations about the interlock requirement. Republican Rep. Russell Pearce of Mesa, who wanted to keep the requirement, said the studies cited by repeal supporters were flawed, because some people who were convicted of drunken driving may later operate a vehicle while impaired but may not get caught doing so. "It is your choice not to drive intoxicated," Pearce said. "It is our choice to make that life pretty miserable for you if you make that bad choice."

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