Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is joining with Tennessee lawmakers, including Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), to call for advancement of key legislation to stop drunk driving. House Bill 353 and Senate Bill 670 require the use of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. Other sponsors of the bill are Representatives Tony Shipley (R-Kingsport), William Lamberth (R-Cottontown) and Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster); and Senators Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin), Mike Bell (R-Riceville), Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) and Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga).
“Research shows that ignition interlock devices are one of the most effective ways to keep drunk drivers from continuing to drive drunk,” said Senator Beavers. “Unfortunately, they’re significantly underused across the state. Passage of legislation to require use of these devices will greatly help in our efforts to get drunk drivers off our roads.”
“MADD urges the legislature to advance this lifesaving legislation because requiring convicted drunk drivers to use ignition interlocks has been proven to reduce drunk driving, save lives and prevent injuries,” said Jan Withers, MADD National President.
Currently, 17 states require interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. Ignition interlocks are critical to eliminating drunk driving, as 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers will continue to drive on a suspended license.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), requiring interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers saves lives and is effective in reducing drunk driving recidivism by 67 percent. States that are enforcing all-offender ignition interlock laws, such as Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico and Louisiana have cut DUI deaths by over 30 percent, largely due to comprehensive interlock laws requiring all drunk drivers receive the device.
In December, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and AAA came out in support of requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. The NTSB’s recommendations follow the July 2012 enactment of Surface Transportation Reauthorization legislation, known as MAP–21, which includes a number of drunk driving reforms, including providing incentive grants to states that adopt all-offender ignition interlock laws.