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WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 12, 2009, 06:31 PM

Ignition Interlock to go statewide in Minneosta

Moorhead, Minn. (WDAY TV) - More than 100 Minnesota drivers are currently taking part in a voluntary program that encourages repeat offenders to use a new device to prevent drunk driving. It's called an Ignition Interlock. July first, it goes statewide. WDAY 6 Reporter Kelsey Soby has our story. It's well known that drunk driving can kill and in clay county, ranked in the top fifteen for DUI arrests in the state, the sheriff is in favor of any program that prevents it, especially repeat offenders.

By: Kelsey Soby, WDAY

Moorhead, Minn. (WDAY TV) - More than 100 Minnesota drivers are currently taking part in a voluntary program that encourages repeat offenders to use a new device to prevent drunk driving. It's called an Ignition Interlock. July first, it goes statewide. WDAY 6 Reporter Kelsey Soby has our story.

It's well known that drunk driving can kill and in clay county, ranked in the top fifteen for DUI arrests in the state, the sheriff is in favor of any program that prevents it, especially repeat offenders.

“When you see a second and third time, then there's a problem there because they didn't learn from the first one and those are the ones that are the higher alcohol rates. I mean it's not uncommon to get someone at a 2.0 and that's pretty scary.”

The Minnesota Department of Safety's impaired driving program coordinator says besides saving lives and preventing injuries, the ignition interlock can help convicted drivers get their revoked license back sooner, a big factor in being able to keep a job and attend court-ordered counseling.

“Anything we can do to help get people to drive legally and without alcohol on board would be a plus for every state.”

Unlike in Minnesota, repeat offenders in North Dakota can't benefit from a program like this.

“If you have a second or more dui our law does not allow you to get any work permits, you have to serve a hard suspension.”

Argall says there are several loopholes in this dui prevention measure. It costs money, you don't always drive your own car, and it's voluntary. But if convicted drivers are willing to try, he says he'll happily accept this new safety tool.

An ignition interlock can be court ordered. Some in North Dakota have worked on legislation to change state law to allow a program similar to the one in Minnesota.

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