Representatives from the national organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving appeared before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday to lobby for Ignition Interlock Devices for first-time DUI offenders.

MADD's State Government Affairs Director Frank Harris appeared on KGVO's Montana Morning news program just before appearing before the committee.

"We're supporting Senate Bill 280, which would make Montana the newest state to approve the ignition interlock drunk driving law," Harris said. "Specifically, this law would require first time offenders who have their license suspended to use an ignition interlock or in-car breathalyzer for six months. 28 other states already have similar laws."

Harris said there have been two different studies that have proven how effective the ignition interlock devices can bee in deterring subsequent drunk driving arrests.

"They reduce drunk driving deaths by six percent," he said. "Ignition interlocks allow an offender to be part of society, teaching them how to drive sober, much more effective than license suspension alone. In the last 10 years, MADD actually reached out to the interlock device companies and asked how many times has this device actually stopped someone from driving drunk. We found that in Montana over the last decade, ignition interlock stopped 5,300 attempts to drive drunk. There are people who got drunk and were prevented from driving because of the device. Just imagine how many more lives could be saved if this bill were passed, and that's why we're here today."

Harris said the cost of the device is roughly $2.50 per day, however, the bill would have an 'indigent funding mechanism', whereby the offender's cost could be tied to their income.

Sue Malek of Missoula introduced the bill that has already passed the state senate.

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