Ortiz Takes Away the Choice to Drink and Drive

Assemblyman pushes for passage of his ignition interlock bill
November 1, 2005
(Albany NY) – In the past few weeks there have been a number of tragic accidents in our state in which children were either seriously injured or killed as a result of drunk drivers. In light of these recent accidents, and the overall escalating number of deaths caused by drinking and driving related accidents, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (Brooklyn) is urging his colleagues in the Legislature, as well as the general public, to support his initiative to rid drinking and driving from New York roadways.

Ortiz’ legislation (A.3054) would require the installation of an ignition interlock device in each car sold or registered in New York State. Ignition interlock devices, once installed in a vehicle, would prevent the vehicle from starting if alcohol was detected on the driver’s breath. A driver would be required to blow into the device before the vehicle could be started.

Ortiz has been fighting for a better solution for the problem of drunk drivers for some time now. He has introduced numerous pieces of legislation to strengthen the laws relating to driving while under the influence. “This past week in Queens, a young boy died after being hit twice by a drunk driver. What I find just as tragic as the accident itself, is the fact that we are not learning from this boy’s death. We will continue to hear similar stories across the country unless we get serious about stopping drunk drivers”, Ortiz stated.

Ortiz believes that his bill will save lives by making sure that drivers do not have the opportunity to make a wrong decision and get behind the wheel after drinking. “The ignition interlock device will decide whether or not an individual is capable of driving”, Ortiz stated. “The fact is, that alcohol affects a person’s judgment, and someone who has been drinking is in no state of mind to be judging their own sobriety”, continued Ortiz.

Ortiz has already received the support of numerous families who have lost loved ones as a result of alcohol related accidents and he hopes that elected officials across the board will pledge their support, and work to pass his bill. “We need to come together to protect our citizens from drunk drivers on our roadways. Our current laws are not doing the job and we need to strengthen them. I am calling on my fellow elected officials to support mandatory ignition interlock devices in cars and take the choice of drunk driving out of the hands of individuals who are unable to make the right decision”, stated Ortiz.