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LETTERS

Ignition locks could save victims, drunk drivers alike from tragic ‘if onlys'

In this 2016 file photo, Mothers Against Drunk Driving president Colleen Sheehey-Church demonstrates the ignition interlock device to members of the media.
In this 2016 file photo, Mothers Against Drunk Driving president Colleen Sheehey-Church demonstrates the ignition interlock device to members of the media.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Re “Prevent drunk-driving first offenders from taking the wheel drunk” (Editorial, July 22): My adored cousin, Tommy Powers, was killed by a drunk driver 57 years ago as he walked along a country road, having missed the airport bus that would have returned him to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. A young Marine, he left a pregnant wife and a family who continue to grieve his loss. Requiring an ignition interlock device of course will have the support of families of victims who have been lost to drunk drivers. Keeping an impaired driver off the road would save families from having to ask the “if only . . . ” questions, as we did following Tommy’s death. “If only he hadn’t missed the bus . . . if only he had visited home another weekend . . . if only. . . .”

This measure should also find support from drunk drivers themselves and their families, who live with the aftermath and memories of their crime. My cousin’s killer had been a repeat offender. We live with the memory of reports at the time of how this drunk, broken man stood over Tommy’s dying body, cursing what he’d done. He paid for his crime with a five-year prison sentence. Perhaps over his lifetime, he too would have advocated for an ignition interlock device had the technology existed.

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Requiring first-time drunk drivers to install such a device could spare the heartache of families affected by impaired drivers. There’d be far fewer if-onlys.

Cathy Ubaldino

Natick