Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) announced a measure he wrote to reduce drunk driving crashes and make our nation's roads safer is now law. The measure will require states to change their laws so repeat drunk drivers will have ignition interlocks installed on their cars and trucks. These devices prevent a car or truck from starting if a tube connected to a sensor detects alcohol on the driver's breath.

"Drunk driving remains an epidemic, as the thousands of American families who lose a loved one every year in a fatal crash involving alcohol know first-hand. Armed with the latest technology, we are making our roads safer and saving American lives," Senator Frank R. Lautenberg said. "Our law will not affect social drinkers-it is aimed squarely at drivers who repeatedly demonstrate they are too drunk to drive."

The Lautenberg measure was included in legislation signed by President Bush on June 6, which made technical corrections to the 2005 "SAFETEA-LU" highway bill. Research shows that use of ignition interlocks are more likely to deter repeat drunk driving than simply suspending one's license.

"Interlocks work and would have prevented my son Courtney's death if mandated in 1988," said Glynn Birch, MADD national president. "They are up to 90 percent effective in reducing repeat offenses and eight states currently have interlocks mandated for all convicted drunk drivers-we are working with the other 42 to increase the interlock sanction and in a couple to advocate for an interlock law that doesn't even exist."

In the original 2005 SAFETEA-LU bill, Lautenberg authored provisions which allowed federal grants to states which pass tougher penalties for drivers with very high blood-alcohol levels-.15 percent, which is nearly twice the current legal limit. The Senator also wrote a measure to require a study about the fairness of laws which allow a drunk driver to avoid penalties by refusing to take a blood alcohol test, even for fatal crashes.

Lautenberg, chairman of the Surface Transportation Subcommittee on the Senate Commerce Committee and the Transportation Safety Subcommittee on the Environment and Public Works Committee, is one of the Senate's leaders on transportation safety initiatives, including:

- The law encouraging states to set the minimum drinking age at 21.

- Laws requiring states to set the maximum Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) levels to .08, preventing hundreds of drunk driving deaths per year.

- An amendment approved in 2003 by the Senate Commerce Committee on truck safety, which prompted the trucking industry to agree not to pursue using heavier, longer trucks on the nation's roads for the next six years.

- An amendment approved by the Senate to require the Federal Aviation Administration to bring airport runways up to safety standards, following incidents at New Jersey's Teterboro Airport and other airports nationwide.

- A bill that was unanimously approved by the Senate Commerce Committee to reauthorize the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The Senator's bill would improve railroad safety (hours of service, grade crossing safety and new safety technology) and authorize appropriations for FRA programs, research and development and grants for six years.