When you lose a loved one to drunk driving, you need to find a way to honor that person. Because so many people make the senseless choice to drink and drive, some families will take steps to remember their loved one by trying to stop whatever caused the loss in the first place. That’s why you see so many bills brought forward to state lawmakers in remembrance of someone who has died because of drunk driving.
Unfortunately those bills don’t always pass, and that’s the case with a bill sponsored by Representative Sandy Salmon. Bill HF 2158 was created in honor of Drake Bigler, a 5-month-old baby who was killed in June of 2012 in a crash caused by a repeat drunk driver. The driver who killed him was sentenced to 48 months in jail. Although it was designed to strengthen operating while impaired (OWI) law in Iowa by requiring an all offender ignition interlock law, the bill has stalled on the floor and will not be moving forward.
If passed, first-time OWI offenders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 would have been required to use the device whenever they drove. The offender would also be required to demonstrate compliance before the ignition interlock would be removed by keeping it serviced and passing breath tests. If an offender couldn’t afford the ignition interlock, the bill set up a fund to help.
There are 25 states with all offender ignition interlock laws, and it’s well documented that they stop drunk drivers in their tracks. To avoid first time offenders becoming repeat offenders or to prevent a repeat drunk driver from driving again and crashing the way someone did into baby Drake Bigler, an all offender ignition interlock law is the best weapon any state has. It’s unfortunate that lawmakers in Iowa didn’t see that.
Although this set back must be disappointing for drunk driving advocates and the family of Drake Bigler, hopefully it will give them the motivation to find another way to pass an all offender ignition interlock law. If it stopped one more crash from happening, it would be worth the effort.