Sounds like overreach to me that if you’ve been found guilty for a first DWI, you’d need to have an interlock device installed on your car to enable you to drive it.

I say an overreach because I always felt this was something reserved for the most serious offenders, such as someone with multiple DWI’s on their record.

But tell that to anyone who’s been injured by or had a family member killed by a drunk driver, and you may feel differently. Personally I wouldn’t want to be in that person’s shoes.

Across the nation, safety advocates are pushing for mandatory installation of ignition interlocks for first-time offenders convicted of drunken driving. So far, the interlocks have been reserved for repeat offenders and those with especially high levels of alcohol in their bloodstream.

“We support, as does MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), the use of interlocks for all first-time offenders,” said Barbara Harsha, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, a national organization. “It is not overreaching — more people drive drunk than ever are arrested.”

Incentives for states to enact laws requiring the interlocks for first-time offenders are included in the recently passed federal transportation funding law. Currently, 16 states require interlocks for first-time offenders, regardless of blood-alcohol level. New Jersey only requires them for first-time offenders with a blood-alcohol level greater than .15 — well over the legal limit of .08.

In your opinion, does it make any sense to mandate that an interlock be installed for a first time DWI offender, even one who blows lower than .15?

As I said, I’d hate to be in the shoes of the person left disabled by someone driving while under the influence or having lost a family member to a drunk driver.