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MADD supports lifesaving ignition interlock legislation

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) urges lawmakers to advance SB 319 introduced by Senator Bill Holtzclaw.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) urges lawmakers to advance SB 319 introduced by Senator Bill Holtzclaw. Lifesaving legislation of this type in other states has a proven record of saving lives, preventing injuries and stopping repeat drunk driving offenses. SB 319 is scheduled for a Commerce, Transportation and Utilities committee hearing today at 2PM. A house version of SB 319, HB 381 introduced by Representative Farley, is pending in the House Rules Committee.

“MADD urges the Senate Commerce, Transportation, and Utilities Committee to advance SB 319,” said MADD National President Jan Withers. “MADD calls on the House rules committee to schedule HB 381 for a full house vote. The time is now to save lives and improve Alabama’s DUI law.”

There are currently 20 states that have similar all offender ignition interlock laws in place. For example, in New Mexico, Oregon, and Arizona, where similar laws are in place, drunk driving deaths have been reduced by 38, 42, and 43 percent respectively.

Since 2011, ignition interlocks have been required for all repeat and first-time convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or greater. However, the law has not been implemented and drunk driving continues to be a problem in Alabama. In 2012, over two hundred and fifty lives were lost due to a drunk driving crash, representing 30 percent of all traffic fatalities.
SB 319 and HB 381will implement current interlock law and give first-time offenders with a BAC of .08 to .14 the option of going on an ignition interlock six months or lieu of a 90-day license suspension.

“MADD supports SB 319 as it will protect the residents of Alabama from drunk drivers,” said MADD National President Jan Withers. “We applaud Senator Holtzclaw for authoring this lifesaving legislation. Ignition interlocks are a key component of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® and an effective countermeasure in our fight against drunk driving.”

Ignition interlocks are the most effective approach to stop DUI compared to license revocation alone. Studies prove 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ignition interlocks, on average, reduce drunk driving recidivism by 67 percent compared to license suspension. Ignition interlocks help the convicted drunk driver learn how to drive sober following a drunk driving conviction.

Additionally, studies show that a first-time convicted drunk driver is not a first-time offender, but rather it is simply the first time they have been caught. First-time offenders have driven drunk an average of 80 times before they are convicted.
“Through the efforts of MADD, drunk driving is now socially unacceptable. Unfortunately, it is still tolerated,” said MADD National President Jan Withers. “SB 319 and HB 381will increase the use of ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers and help prevent repeat offenses, since ignition interlocks are proven to be more effective than license revocation,” continued Withers.
For more information on interlocks, please visit http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/ignition-interlocks/.

About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. With the help of those who want a safer future, MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end this danger on America’s roads. PowerTalk 21® is the national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol, using the proven strategies of Power of Parents® to reduce the risk of underage drinking. And as one of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every 8.6 minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP. Learn more at www.madd.org or by calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.

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