Beverage group is wrong to argue against ignition locks

Tuesday, March 9, 2010; A18

In arguing against Maryland's proposed law that would require first-time drunk-driving offenders to use ignition interlocks, the American Beverage Institute worries that the law would inhibit people from having a second drink when dining out or attending sporting events ["Md., Va. consider ignition breathalyzers for first offense," Metro, March 2]. ABI managing director Sarah Longwell said, "We don't think that they should be punished to the same degree as somebody who has 10 drinks and then drives."

Ten drinks? I don't know what physiology-blood-chemistry equations the ABI uses. But I've seen people impaired after three drinks, tipsy at four and blotto after five. It seems cruelly obvious from that statement that the ABI values selling liquor over saving lives.

Ignition interlocks are not punishment; they are protection -- for the offender as well as every one of us when we're on the road.

Mike McLaughlin, Laurel

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