Feb. 6, 2012 - The Republicans in the House of Representatives unveiled their version of a long-term surface transportation bill (HR 7) last week, which includes, among several contentious provisions, incentives for states to require convicted drunk drivers to use ignition interlocks in their cars. Ignition interlocks are devices that test the blood-alcohol level of the driver to ensure it is below legal limits before starting their cars. The provision is expected to be in the Senate bill as well.
The provision is being pushed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which says that requiring convicted drunk drivers to use the devices will save thousands of lives each year. Interest groups representing the restaurant and beverage industries, such as the American Beverage Institute, have come out against the provision, arguing that it would “eliminate people’s ability to have a glass of wine at dinner or a beer at a ballgame and drive home.”
- Members of the US House of Representatives received 25 times as much from interest groups representing Restaurants & drinking establishments ($3,895,311), which oppose the ignition interlock language, as from interest groups representing Health & welfare policy ($155,408), which support the ignition interlock language, between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2011.
METHODOLOGY: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions connected to Health & welfare policy and Restaurants & drinking establishments to current members of the House of Representatives from July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2011. Campaign contributions data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets.org).