TRENTON – Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is calling on New Jersey senators to advance legislation aimed at preventing drunk driving. Senate Bill 2427, authored by state Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), would require all convicted drunk drivers to install and use of ignition interlocks. The bill is pending a Senate vote on Thursday, June 27.
“As a MADD National Board member, New Jersey personal injury attorney and survivor of a pedestrian crash caused by a repeat offender drunk driver, I know firsthand the devastation that can be caused by a repeat offender drunk driver,” said Steven Benvenisti, Esq. “MADD calls on the Senate to advance S 2427 and help stop drunk driving.”
Eighteen states require interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. As of 2010, with the passage of Ricci’s Law, ignition interlocks are required for repeat and first-time offenders with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .15 or greater. S 2427 would strengthen Ricci’s Law to require ignition interlocks for all first-time convicted drunk drivers for a period of at least three months.
“While the number of national drunk driving deaths has decreased by seven percent annually, it is troubling that our home state of New Jersey has increased by 21 percent during that same time period. S 2427 is the solution to the problems caused by repeat offender drunk drivers. States that have required ignition interlock devices for all offenders have seen as much as 46 percent reduction in fatalities,” continued Benvenisti.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), requiring interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers saves lives and reduces drunk driving recidivism by 67 percent. States that are enforcing all-offender ignition interlock laws, such as Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico and Louisiana, have seen their drunk driving deaths drop by more than 30 percent.
“Drunk driving is a 100 percent preventable crime. Since 2006, MADD has worked with lawmakers to eliminate this crime and encourage states to adopt all-offender ignition interlock laws nationwide. The data doesn’t lie; there has been a significant reduction in drunk driving fatalities in states with such legislation. S 2427 will save lives in New Jersey,” said Jan Withers MADD National President.
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