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Rep. Dan Ruby, Minot, N.D., Published April 06 2013

Letter: We are working on a good DUI bill

Drunken driving is a serious problem in our state. It has ruined far too many lives. We take our responsibility to address this problem seriously, and we are determined to reduce the incidence of drinking and driving through tougher penalties and smarter solutions.

SB 2240 and HB 1302 would have mandated jail time for first-time offenders and treated all first-time offenders the same regardless of blood alcohol level. Rather than deal with two bills, we defeated SB 2240 and are working to revise and strengthen HB 1302.

We believe the right approach will create a tiered system that increases the consequences a drunken driver faces based on blood alcohol levels and prior convictions. We also believe mandatory jail time for first time offenders is ill-advised. Not only will such a law force counties to build more jail space, but other methods like ankle bracelets and ignition interlock systems are more effective. When we are done, North Dakota law will include stiffer fines and consequences for all drunken-driving convictions and will provide effective solutions to better safeguard our roads and highways.

Ruby, R-Minot, is chairman, House Transportation Committee.