State Lawmaker Wants Breathalyzers in All Cars

January 10, 2011 Updated Jan 10, 2011 at 7:27 PM EDT

By John Borsa

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January 10, 2011 Updated Jan 10, 2011 at 7:27 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) -- He wanted to ban the use of salt by New York City restaurants and got drunk on television by drinking Four Loko.

Now, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz is in the middle of controversy again. This time, he wants to force auto manufacturers to install ignition interlock devices in all vehicles by 2015, so drunk drivers cannot get behind the wheel.

The devices, similar to a breathalyzer used by law enforcement to determine if a driver has had too much to drink, would cut off a vehicle's ignition system if the user is intoxicated.

The devices are already mandatory for those convicted of drunk driving in New York.

MADD of Erie County supports the use of breathalyzers in cars for those convicted of drunk driving, but doesn't think the technology is cost-efficient or effective to make mandatory for all drivers.

"One day the car of the future could have this technology. but it would have to be 99.8 percent fool-proof and it would have to be affordable," said Elizabeth Obad of MADD.

The American Beverage Institute, a restaurant trade association, is also against the bill.

"What it would cost, at this point, we don't know -- And the other thing we don't know is where it would be set. And this is where our opposition stems from," said Sarah Longwell.

Longwell said the devices would have to be set below the current .08 blood alcohol content limit and therefore would prevent sober people from driving.

Ortiz has introduced the same bill for many years and it has failed to gain traction at the Capitol.