New law requires ignitition interlock devices for all DUI offenders

By Tom Lehman 12:14am, August 7, 2014 - Updated 2:51pm, August 7, 2014
VIDEO WDEL's Tom Lehman reports...
Governor Jack Markell on Wednesday signed a bill requiring anyone convicted of drunk driving in Delaware to have interlock ignition devices placed in their motor vehicles.

WDEL's Tom Lehman reports.

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Delaware is the 24th state to adopt the measure, which makes it mandatory for DUI offenders to have devices that will not allow them to operate their vehicles without producing a clean breath sample.

The issue was important to Markell, who said he was 17 years old when his cousin, in his 40s at the time, was killed by a drunk driver while riding a bicycle.

"Ever since then, I've been incredibly focused on this issue," he said.

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The interlock devices allow DUI offenders to operate motor vehicles so they can go to work and attend family functions, said Debbie Weir, the CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

The organization says many of those convicted of drunk driving have already operated motor vehicles while under the influence of alcohol 80 times before they are caught for the first time.

By requiring those with drunk driving convictions to prove they are sober before they can drive, Weir said the new law will protect both offenders and others.

"It means less families are going to get the knock on the door from law enforcement for a death notification," she said.

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The bill was signed at the Wilmington Riverfront, outside the headquarters for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

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