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Representative Dennis Keene files tough DUI legislation

Representative Dennis Keene files tough DUI legislation

Best Dennis and KellyNew Federal law makes passage in Kentucky more likely

WILDER, KY – For the fourth consecutive year, Kentucky Rep. Dennis Keene, D-Wilder has filed legislation to toughen Kentucky’s DUI laws.  House Bill Number 286 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 has unanimously passed the House each time but died in the Senate,” said Rep. Dennis Keene.  “I am confident that 2013 will be the year this legislation passes both the House and Senate and is signed into law by Governor Steve Beshear.”

Representative Keene’s confidence is stemming from a new Federal law that was passed by Congress in 2012 and took effect October 1, 2012 requiring states to mandate ignition interlock devices or risk losing Federal highway funding.  MAP-21 requires states to require to adopt ignition interlock laws and sets up a discretionary grant program that allows the secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide additional funds to states that adopt alcohol ignition interlock laws.

According to Robyn Robertson of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation of Canada, “Ignition interlock devices are designed to protect the public by incapacitating drunk drivers. Evaluation of interlock use shows a 35-90% recidivism, with an average of 64%,” said Ms. Robertson.

“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.

“Requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers is a key part of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving because interlocks are proven to save lives and prevent injuries,” said MADD National President Jan Withers. “As we approach this spring’s 25th anniversary of the horrific Carrollton bus crash, we’re thankful for Rep. Keene’s leadership and we urge the House to honor the 27 victims who were killed and the 34 who were injured, by passing this 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.

The legislation will include a provision for indigent funding which was a point of contention during the last legislative session.

Representative Dennis Keene has served the citizens of the 67th District since 2005 and is the chairman of the House Licensing and Occupations Committee, Vice Chairman of Economic Development, Vice Chairman on the Budget Subcommittee on Transportation and a member of the Banking & Insurance Committee.  Keene is a small business owner and an economic development advisor for EGC Construction.  For more information, visit: