MADD Urges Senate Committee to Support Interlocks for All Convicted Drunk Drivers

TRENTON – Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) testified today in front of the New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of making sure convicted drunk drivers are sober to start, by requiring ignition interlocks for all offenders. The proposal is contained in a bill, S-1750, authored by Senate Judiciary Chairman Nicholas Scutari (D-Union).

“New Jersey has an opportunity to make their roadways much safer by passing this legislation. Requiring convicted drunk drivers to use ignition interlocks has been proven to save lives and prevent drunk driving,” said Jan Withers, MADD National President. “MADD urges New Jersey lawmakers to enact this important legislation.”

New Jersey currently requires ignition interlocks for repeat offenders and those with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or greater. However, there are 16 states that require ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders. According to MADD, it is important to extend New Jersey’s law to all offenders because 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.

States that require ignition interlocks for all offenders have proven success in preventing drunk driving deaths. Ignition interlocks reduce repeat drunk driving, on average, by 67 percent. Since New Mexico’s all offender interlock law was implemented in 2005, drunk driving fatalities are down by 30 percent. In Arizona, drunk driving deaths decreased by 51 percent. In Oregon, drunk driving deaths are down by 52 percent.

“MADD applauds the leadership of Chairman Scutari in introducing and working to advance this lifesaving legislation,” said Withers.

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