Keene pre-files tough DUI bill

Supported by MADD – No cost to taxpayers

Representative Keene with his daughter Kelly and MADD President Laura Dean-Mooney

Kentucky Rep. Dennis Keene has pre-filed legislation to toughen Kentucky’s DUI laws.  Bill Request Number 290 will require individuals convicted of drunk driving to install an ignition interlock device which would test the operators breath for alcohol before allowing the engine to start without any cost to the taxpayers.  “This important legislation passed the House 95-0 and died in the Senate without a hearing,” said Rep. Dennis Keene.  “Based upon the hearings we have had this summer, we expect the legislation to pass the Senate as well.”

Representative Keene has secured bi-partisan support with Senator Tom Buford who will champion the legislation in the Senate. Similar DUI legislation did not receive a hearing in the Senate during the 2010 session, but the summer Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary held a hearing that included testimony from Robyn Robertson of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation of Canada.  “Ignition interlock devices are designed to protect the public by incapacitating drunk drivers,” said Ms. Robertson.  “Evaluation of interlock use shows a 35-90% recidivism, with an average of 64%.”

“”The cost of the alcohol interlock device is about $3-4 a day or about the cost of a drink or about the cost of a gallon of gas,” testified Robyn Robertson.  “There will be no cost to the Kentucky taxpayers if the program is enacted; all costs are borne by the convicted offenders.”

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), alcohol ignition interlock devices save lives.  “Studies on interlocks for both first-time and repeat offenders show that interlocks reduce repeat drunk driving offenses by an average of 64%,” according to the MADD website.

“MADD fully supports the ignition interlock legislation being introduced by Representative Keene,” said Mothers Against Drunk Driving National President Laura Dean-Mooney. “Requiring convicted drunk drivers to ‘blow before they go’ is an important part of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, and we urge Kentucky lawmakers to pass this life-saving legislation.”

Representative Dennis Keene nearly lost his daughter Kelly Keene Jones in a drunk driving accident in 2002.  She required three subsequent surgeries in order to overcome her injuries and now Kelly is an outspoken advocate for tougher DUI laws.

Paid for by Dennis Keene for State Representative Campaign
LRC photos courtesy of LRC Public Information