Breathalyzer Device Now Required on Cars for DUI First Offenders

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(Memphis) A new Tennessee law is supposed to make it almost impossible to drive drunk. It forces first-time DUI offenders to get an ignition interlock device, which forces a breathalyzer test before they can start their car.

The new law gives some victims and their family’s hope.

“He got killed July 29th 1995,” said Dell Russell, about her husband, Bobby.

He was hit and killed by an off-duty police officer one Saturday afternoon while working in the yard.

“It is a violent crime,” she says. “It doesn’t matter what anybody says. You might not have a gun but you have a car and it is just as powerful as that gun and it takes lives.”

Russell is grateful Tennessee passed a law that’s supposed to stop repeat drunk drivers.

The law forces first-time DUI offenders to get an ignition interlock on their car for six months. They must blow into it every time they get behind the wheel.

It shows if the driver is legally drunk and it takes a picture to make sure someone else isn’t blowing into the device for them.

“It has to save lives. It has to,” said Russell. “If it can save one life, then it’s done its job.”

In fact, the organization Mothers Against Drunk Drivers says in 17 states with similar laws, DUI deaths are down about 30 percent.

“I have six grandchildren that won’t know their grandfather and that’s not fair and if you can make it fair for one (person), its good,” said Russell.

The new law lets drivers immediately get a second chance behind the wheel and the ignition interlock is supposed to make sure they don’t need a third chance.

The law goes into effect July 1st and won’t be applied to past drunk drivers.

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