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Fourth time a charm for Kentucky DUI bill?

For the fourth year in a row, Kentucky State Rep. Dennis Keene, D-Wilder, has introduced a bill that would require those convicted of drunk driving to install an ignition interlock device which would test their breath for alcohol before allowing the engine to start.

This time, Keene is more confident his fellow legislators will go along, because of a federal law passed by Congress in 2012.

That bill, which took effect last October, requires states to mandate interlock devices or risk losing federal highway funding. The federal law sets up a discretionary grant program that allows the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to provide additional funds to states that adopt alcohol ignition interlock laws.

"This important legislation has unanimously passed the House each time but died in the Senate,'' Keene said in a written statement. "I am confident that 2013 will be the year this legislation passes both the House and Senate and is signed into law by Gov. Steve Beshear." 

Keene said there would be no cost to the taxpayers - the $3-4 a day cost would be paid by the convicted offenders.

According to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving website, alcohol ignition interlock devices reduce repeat drunk driving offenses by 64 percent.

Keene's daughter, Kelly Keene Jones, nearly lost her life in a 2002 accident involving drunk driver. Her father said his daughter has become "an outspoken advocate for tougher DUI laws."

Howard Wilkinson is in his 50th year of covering politics on the local, state and national levels.