- Associated Press - Monday, March 23, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Gov. Chris Christie has conditionally vetoed a measure that would have overhauled drunken driving penalties and required the use of interlock ignition devices.

In a statement issued Monday, Christie said he wants to “strengthen” the Legislature’s measure and enact stiffer penalties for DUI offenses.

Under the governor’s recommendation first-time offenders with blood alcohol levels from 0.08 percent to 0.1 percent would have their licenses suspended for three months. They would also be required to have an interlock system in place for three to six months.

The system prevents the driver from starting the car until he or she blows into a device. If alcohol is detected the car will not start.

For first-time offenders with blood alcohol levels in the same range, the Legislature’s bill called for a 10-day suspension.

“I’m not going to give somebody 10 days of a license suspension for driving drunk. It’s wrong,” Christie said during his monthly radio show Monday evening. “Keep the penalties, but add the interlocking device.”

Christie said he hadn’t yet received a response from lawmakers, but was confident they would agree with his changes.

“I don’t understand why anybody would be opposed to making our drunk driving laws harder and more difficult. Why?” he asked. “You make mistakes you have to pay the price.”

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