N.J. moves to keep drunken drivers off the road

 The bill's sponsor, Senator Nick Scutari, testifies before the Senate Budget Committee. (Phil Gregory/for NewsWorks)

The bill's sponsor, Senator Nick Scutari, testifies before the Senate Budget Committee. (Phil Gregory/for NewsWorks)

Anyone convicted of drunken driving will be required to install an ignition interlock device in their car, should a proposal advanced Monday by the New Jersey Senate Budget Committee becomes law.

The interlock would replace license suspensions for people convicted of drunken driving, said Sen. Nick Scutari, D-Union.

“It’s going to allow people to maintain their employment, but it’s really going to safeguard the public by not allowing people to repeat-offend, because it’s going to basically not allow them to start their car if they’re inebriated,” he said.

Sen. Jeff Van Drew voted against the bill because he’s not sure it will keep repeat drunken drivers off the road.

“They have to either be imprisoned or go into rehab for at least 90 days and straighten themselves out,” he said. “I don’t know if they should immediately be back on the road with or without an interlock.”

Van Drew, D-Atlantic, is also concerned those drivers could get behind the wheel of other vehicles not equipped with the interlock device.

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