MADD Celebrates Missouri's Passage of Lifesaving Ignition Interlock Legislation
-- More Than 100 Million People in U.S. Now Better Protected from Drunk Drivers --
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., July 11, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Yesterday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed into law a bipartisan bill that requires all convicted drunk drivers use ignition interlocks on their vehicles to prevent future offenses. Missouri is the 17th state in the nation to require all drunk driving offenders use ignition interlocks, which brings the total number of people now better protected from repeat drunk driving offenders to more than 100 million.
"Missouri is taking a great step forward in making their roadways safer through this legislation. Requiring convicted drunk drivers to use ignition interlocks to prove they are sober before they can start their vehicles has been shown to save lives and stop drunk driving," said MADD Missouri State Chair Michael Boland. "MADD thanks Representative Charlie Denison and Senator Bill Stouffer for championing this legislation, members of both parties for their support, and Governor Nixon for signing it."
The science behind requiring ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders has been clear for some time, showing that they reduce repeat offenses by two-thirds. In Arizona and Oregon, for example, laws requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers have contributed significantly to the number of drunk driving deaths dropping 51 and 52 percent, respectively.
"This is truly a victory for the safety of Missouri's roads and for the nation," said MADD National President Jan Withers. "With more than 100 million people now living in states with all-offender interlock laws, we are one-third of the way to our goal of helping keep every American safer as a result of these lifesaving laws."
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. In fact, first-time offenders have driven drunk an average of 80 times before they are convicted.
"These devices have the power to save lives and help offenders at the same time," said MADD Missouri Gateway Affiliate Executive Director Meghan Carter. "Convicted drunk drivers who have an interlock can keep their jobs, keep going to school, and at the same time, keep the public safe."
Beginning in October 2013, the new law requires first-time drunk driving offenders use an interlock for 75 days. If the interlock shows a violation during this 75-day period of restricted driving privilege, the person's license will not be reinstated until the person completes an additional 75-day period of restricted driving privilege without any violations.
Supporting ignition interlock laws is a key element of MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®. The other two tenets are supporting our heroes in law enforcement who keep the roads safe and working to secure the future through advanced technology that could eventually eliminate drunk driving.
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 eight 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.
SOURCE Mothers Against Drunk Driving