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.


To respond to this letter, send an email to Please include your name and contact information.