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Saint Petersburg, Florida – A federal lawmaker has proposed stricter legislation for first-time DUI offenders that would affect drivers and penalize states that do not participate.

"In my mind, driving drunk only once is one time too many," said Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY).

Her plan would require all first-time DUI offender to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle, a requirement currently reserved for repeat offenders or those under the age of eighteen.

Drivers would have to blow into a device installed in their vehicle and their ignition will only be activated if they are alcohol free.

If the legislation were to become law, states that failed to comply by October 1, deadline could face a reduction in federal transportation funds.

Lawmaker proposed interlock system in cars even for first time DUI offenders across the United States.

"What we know is that the first time a person gets caught, it's not their first time they've driven drunk," said Jan Withers, president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving or MADD.

Dubbed 'Alisa's Law,' the bill is named after Wither's daughter, who was killed in a 1992 accident by an underage drunk driver.

Hundreds of people are killed in alcohol-related crash in the State of Florida every year. Thousands die across the United States every year.

Despite the numbers, the American Beverage Institute insist the proposal, as it is written, does not target the real problem makers such as repeat "hardcore offenders."

"Requiring interlocks for hardcore – high-BAC and repeat-conviction – offenders is a much more effective and financially sound way to fight drunk driving," said ABI spokeswoman Sarah Longwell.

The group cites numbers by the National Highway Transportation Highway Safety Administration that show that 70% of fatal alcohol-related crashes are caused by drivers with a BACs greater than .15%.

"Rather than forcing states to require low-BAC, first-time offenders to install interlocks, laws should instead focus on extending the time interlocks are installed on the vehicles of hardcore offenders. With state budgets already stretched thin, Congress should allow states to target their limited funds to policies that keep the most dangerous drunk drivers off our roads," Longwell said.

According to the Nonprofit group Drinkingandriving.org, here is a breakdown of DUI arrests in Florida by county.

  • In Citrus—18 of 10,000 drivers are arrested for DUI each year.
  • In Hernando—13 of 10,000 drivers are arrested for DUI each year.
  • In Pasco—46 of 10,000 drivers are arrested for DUI each year.
  • In Polk—20 of 10,000 drivers are arrested for DUI each year.
  • In Hillsborough—37 of 10,000 drivers are arrested for DUI each year.
  • In Pinellas—40 of 10,000 drivers are arrested for DUI each year.
  • In Manatee—23 of 10,000 drivers are arrested for DUI each year.
  • In Sarasota—71 of 10,000 drivers are arrested for DUI each year.
  • In Hardee—83 of 10,000 drivers are arrested for DUI each year.

DMV Ignition Interlock Program Requirements

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