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Ignition interlock will save lives

The alcohol industry should be ashamed that its hard-line representatives were the only ones to oppose Mothers Against Drunk Driving's efforts to require ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers at a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing in Annapolis ("How to reduce drunk driving," Feb. 27).

Even some of the moderate members of the alcohol industry have endorsed this common-sense measure. And supporters of the proposal include Maryland Shock Trauma, the Maryland State Police, AAA, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program, the States Attorneys Association, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration and many others.

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Nationally the bill's list of supporters includes the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Transportation Safety Board, the National Safety Council, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and many others.

Two-thirds of House Judiciary Committee members have signed on as co-sponsors to Del. Ben Kramer and Sen. Jamie Raskin's legislation to require interlocks for convicted drunk drivers, and high school civics would suggest an easy passage. But Committee Chairman Joseph F. Vallario Jr. of Prince George's County, a criminal defense attorney, has repeatedly killed this and other lifesaving measures by simply not allowing a committee vote on the bill.

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Those who think it is OK for 141 Marylanders to die in drunk-driving accidents again next year shouldn't change a thing and simply accept the American Beverage Institute's position. The rest of us should urge legislators to demand a swift vote on House Bill 872 and Senate Bill 395.

Chuck Hurley

The writer is MADD Maryland Legislative Chair.

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