Mothers Against Drunk Driving is wrong to push for ignition interlocks for low-BAC (blood alcohol concentration), first-time offenders ("Editorial: Curbed threat," June 22). People driving at one sip over the legal limit shouldn't be punished with the same severity as the high-BAC, repeat offenders for whom interlocks have traditionally been reserved. While it takes as little as two glasses of wine for a 120-pound woman to reach the 0.08 limit, the average BAC of a drunk driver involved in a fatal crash is 0.18 percent — more than twice the legal limit. Laws mandating ignition interlocks for all offenders deny judges the ability to distinguish between a driver one sip over the limit and high-BAC, repeat offenders. That's why 27 states have passed interlock mandates for high-BAC and repeat-offenders, while just 11 target low-BAC, first-time offenders. If this bill passes, Kansas will join the minority of states that punish marginal, first-time offenders the same as hard-core drunk drivers.
Longwell is managing director of the American Beverage Institute in Washington, D.C.