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The Assembly

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February 25, 2004

Ortiz Takes Away the Choice to Drink & Drive

Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz (D-51 A.D.) 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 work similar to breathalyzers used by police officers to detect the presence of alcohol on a driver's breath. 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.

To dissuade allowing others from taking the test for a drunk driver, many devices have a "rolling test" which would ask the driver to retake the test after the car has been started. If this test is failed or ignored the car will react similar to a car alarm unless pulled over and turned off.

"Drinking and driving should not be a choice - it is a deadly mix which should not be tolerated on our highways. This bill will save lives by making sure drivers do not have the opportunity to make a wrong decision and get behind the wheel after drinking." stated Ortiz.

"Alcohol affects a person's judgment, that's a fact, -- someone who has been drinking is in no state of mind to be judging their own sobriety." continued Ortiz.