TALLAHASSEE (February 16, 2016) — This week, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) will testify in support of lifesaving ignition interlock laws for drunk driving offenders.
On Wednesday, Kristen Allen, MADD Victim Services Manager in Northwest Florida, will urge the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development to pass SB 1394 as it is currently written — to allow offenders to enter into twice-a-day alcohol testing or to wear an ankle bracelet in addition to use of an ignition interlock. MADD previously opposed an amendment that would allow other monitoring programs as a substitute for igniting interlocks.
Ignition interlocks are in-car breathalyzers that will not allow a vehicle to start if the alcohol is detected on the driver’s breath. The devices save lives by taking the decision to drive drunk out of the hands of offenders. No other technology available today can physically stand between a drunk driver and his or her vehicle.
MADD believes all offenders arrested with an illegal .08 blood alcohol concentration or above should be required to use an ignition interlock for at least six months. Since October 2008 in Florida, ignition interlocks have been required for all repeat, first-time offenders with a .15 BAC or greater or with a child passenger in a vehicle. As a result, 49,000 attempts to drive drunk have been stopped, and 662,000 attempts to start a vehicle with a .025 BAC or more were stopped, according to a new MADD reportreleased Feb. 10.
“As this report shows, our best defense against the dangerous decision to drink and drive is a technology that takes the decision out of the hands of the would-be drunk driver,” Allen said.
Studies show that ignition interlocks decrease repeat offenses by 67 percent when compared to license suspension alone. In addition, 50 to 75 percent of drunk driving offenders continue to drive after their license has been suspended.
Expanding the requirement to all offenders will save lives in Florida, where 685 lives were lost to drunk driving in 2014.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD changed American culture by introducing the “designated driver” in 1986 and related red ribbon awareness campaign Tie One On For Safety® now in its 30th year. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® is marking its 10th anniversary and reducing drunk driving fatalities by 25 percent since its launch. MADD supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, providing a service every four minutes through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Power of Parents® and Power of Youth® programs reduce underage drinking. Learn more by visiting madd.org or calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.