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Ignition locks are unfair for first-time DUIs [Letter]

Your editorial is wrong to advocate ignition interlocks for all first-time DUI offenders ("Dancing around DUIs," May 20).

It takes as little as two glasses of wine to get a 120-pound woman to the current .08 blood-alcohol concentration limit. At this level, she's about as dangerous as someone who talks on a hands-free cellphone. She should not be punished the same as someone with a BAC of .16 — the average for a drunk driver involved in a fatal crash.

Yet that's exactly what mandatory interlocks for first-time DUI offenders would do.

Instead of uniform punishments for DUI offenders, the severity of the punishment should be determined by the severity of the DUI — just as we do with speeding offenses, another major cause of roadway deaths.

Policymakers should avoid enacting one-size-fits-all policies and instead target limited police and parole resources at the high-BAC offenders who pose the most danger to highway safety.

Sarah Longwell, Washington, D.C.

The writer is managing director of the American Beverage Institute.

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