FRANKFORT – On Tuesday, the House of Representatives unanimously approved legislation that would require ignition interlock devices in the vehicles of drunken driving offenders.
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Dennis Keene, D-Wilder. It passed 95-0, with bipartisan support, and now heads to the Senate for consideration.
The measure is aimed at reducing the number of drunken drivers on Kentucky roads.
In 2009, 203 people were killed and 2,652 were injured in drunken driving-related crashes across Kentucky.
Similar laws exist in 13 other states, where they have been shown to significantly reduce drunken driving.
Keene says the law also could cut drunk-driving fatalities by up to 30 percent, based on results in other states.
“This is not about alcohol – this is about people making bad decisions,” he said. “That’s really what it’s about: preventing bad decisions.”
The issue is personal for Keene: in 2002, his daughter Kelly was seriously injured when her car was struck by a drunken driver on the AA Highway in Wilder, as she drove home from work on a Sunday night, just weeks shy of her high school graduation.
She has made a full recovery and was in Frankfort for Tuesday’s vote.
“I’m proud of my father for championing this cause – it truly is the most preventable crime,” she said. “… I’m one of the lucky ones: there are many people who don’t make it when they are a victim of a crash with a drunk driver. Hopefully we can prevent more of those accidents with the interlock devices.”