MADD outraged by ignition compromise talk
MADD has alerted its members and supporters to call House Speaker Michael E. Busch to express their support for passage of a bill requiring ignition interlock devices to be installed on the cars of all persons convicted of drunk driving -- without any of the weakening amendments under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee.
Sources in Annapolis report that the committee and its chairman, Del. Joseph Vallario, are inclined to support the bill with a provision requiring installation of the devices for first time offenders only if they are found to have a blood-alcohol level of .12 or .15. Driving with a bloood alcohol level of .08 is grounds for automatic conviction of driving under the influence. MADD has resisted any efforts to define levels of blood alcohol at or around .08 as something less than drunk.
There is by now a well-worn path to the speaker's office for safety advocates and others who object to Vallario's handling of his committee, a well-known graveyard for strong drunk driving bills. Because the speaker appoints committee chairs, he is the one official Vallario has to pay attention to. (Listening to governors is optional.)
The ignition interlock bill is MADD's No. 1 priority for this legislative session. A version without the amendments restricting the requirement to "super-drunks" passed the Senate 44-0.