Tag Archives: MADD

MADD Applauds New Jersey Senate’s Passage of All-Offender Interlock Bill

The New Jersey Senate overwhelmingly passed SB 385 today (29-4), joining the House of Representatives in supporting ignition interlocks for all drunk drivers.

If the governor signs SB 385/A 1368 into law, New Jersey will become the 25th state to require all convicted drunk drivers to install ignition interlocks, which prevent vehicles from operating when a driver has been drinking.

MADD is urging Gov. Chris Christie to sign the bill and help make New Jersey roadways safer for residents and travelers. No governor has ever vetoed an ignition interlock bill.

“As a MADD New Jersey volunteer, MADD National Board Member, 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, who suffered life-threatening injuries as a student at the College of New Jersey. “Too many people die every year in New Jersey due to drunk driving. This law has proven to save lives in other states and it is long overdue in New Jersey. I have no doubt that once this law is enacted, we will immediately see a reduction in drunk driving fatalities in our state.”

In 2013, 146 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes on New Jersey roadways. States that require interlocks for all offenders have reduced drunk driving deaths by up to 45 percent, and the Centers for Disease Control reports a 67 percent decrease in repeat offenses when interlocks are used.

About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is celebrating its 35th anniversary by creating a future of NO MORE VICTIMSTM. MADD is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every ten minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end drunk driving through increased law enforcement, all offender ignition interlock laws and advanced vehicle technology. PowerTalk 21® is the national day for parents to talk with their teens about alcohol, using Power of Parents®’ proven approach to reduce underage drinking. Learn more by visiting MADD’s new website at madd.org or calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.

 

MADD Applauds New Jersey Senate Committee for Advancing Lifesaving Drunk Driving Legislation

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) thanks the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for advancing S 385/A 1368 on Monday, October 27. S 385/A 1368, introduced by Assemblywoman Stender and Senator Scutari, will require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, including all first-time offenders. If the Senate advances this measure to the Governor, New Jersey would be the 25th state to enact such lifesaving ignition interlock legislation.

“MADD thanks Senator Scutari and Assemblywoman Stender for authoring this lifesaving legislation,” said MADD National Board Member and New Jersey resident Steven Benvenisti, Esq. “Similar laws have reduced DUI deaths and injuries in other states.   MADD applauds the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for their leadership in advancing S 385/A 1368 and we call on the Senate to send this lifesaving measure to Governor Christie for approval.”

Arizona and Oregon have similar laws and have reduced DWI deaths by 43 and 42 percent respectfully, largely due to these comprehensive laws requiring all drunk drivers to receive an interlock.

Currently, interlocks are required for all repeat and first-time convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or greater. Passage of S/385 A 1368 would require a first-time convicted drunk driver with a BAC of .08 to .14 to use an ignition interlock for a period of three to twelve months. The last third of the time on the interlock must be violation free or the offender will have the time on the interlock extended.

Earlier this year, the Assembly passed A 1368. Last session, the Senate passed similar legislation (S 2427) with only two dissenting votes.

“MADD’s number one legislative priority in New Jersey is making sure S 385/A 1368 becomes law. As a MADD New Jersey volunteer, 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 Benvenisti. “I ask lawmakers to consider my story and the stories of so many others and act accordingly by advancing S 385/A 1368. This law is proven to save lives just as it has in other states.”

The “first-time” offender is rarely a first-time drunk driver. Conservative estimates show that a first-time convicted DWI offender has driven drunk at least 80 times prior to being arrested. Ignition interlocks are an effective deterrent to not drive drunk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), interlocks have been shown to reduce repeat offenses by 67 percent, compared to license suspension alone. In addition, 50-75 percent of convicted drunk drivers will continue to drive on a suspended license, so license suspension alone is no longer an appropriate countermeasure for stopping drunk drivers. A 1368 will help change behavior and separate alcohol from driving. Interlocked offenders are able to perform their jobs and provide for their families.

 

For more information on interlocks, please visit madd.org/interlock.

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 protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. With the help of those who want a safer future, MADD’sCampaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end this danger on America’s roads. 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 8.6 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.

MADD’s Campaign has Strengthened Drunk Driving Laws in 24 States

When Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) launched its Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® in the fall of 2006, one state, New Mexico, had an all-offender ignition interlock law. Since then, 23 states have passed all-offender ignition interlock legislation. The Campaign continues to be the nation’s blueprint to eliminate drunk driving, and much of its success is due to passage of strong DUI laws in all 50 states.  Drunk driving deaths are down more than 24 percent since 2006 and, while much has been accomplished, much more must be done.

 

“As we continue to sound the drumbeat that high-visibility enforcement and ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers are the best ways to stop drunk driving, it is important to recognize that this issue continues to be a problem across the nation,” said MADD National President Jan Withers.

 

So far this year, MADD has successfully passed major legislation aimed at stopping drunk driving. By sharing the devastating stories of drunk driving deaths and injuries, MADD continues to put a face to this violent crime. During the past few months, MADD has worked closely with local DUI victims to educate, inform and speak about the importance of effective drunk driving laws in every state. Today, nearly half of the nation (24 states) has passed an all-offender ignition interlock law.

 

Already in 2014, four states have passed all-offender interlock legislation, eight states have improved legislation by closing loopholes, and four states are still working to pass bills.

 

Alabama, Mississippi, New Hampshire and Delaware are the states that have passed all-offender interlock legislation in 2014, becoming the 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th states to do so since 2006.

 

Alabama passed SB 319, authored by Senator Bill Holtzclaw and Representative Allen Farley, to require ignition interlocks for all offenders. Leadership from both the Senate and House were instrumental in the passage of this legislation.

 

In Mississippi, over the past three years, MADD volunteers helped advocate for an all-offender interlock law.  One of these volunteers, Etoile Frazier Patrick, advocated for the new law in honor of her 19-year-old son who, along with his 18-year-old girlfriend, were struck and killed by a drunk driver. Leadership from Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn and Representatives Andy Gipson and Kevin Horan proved to be instrumental in the passage of HB 412, which requires interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.

 

In New Hampshire, the House and Senate reached a deal to require interlocks for all offenders by enacting HB 496, authored by House Majority Leader Stephen Shurtleff.  The legislation is pending the Governor’s signature.

 

In Delaware, MADD National President Jan Withers met with lawmakers in May, including Senate Majority Leader David McBride, to discuss the need for stronger drunk driving laws in the state and testified in support of HB 212. With the leadership and guidance of House bill sponsors Helene Keeley, Steve Smyk and Senator McBride, on June 30th the bill passed, making Delaware the 24th state to pass legislation to require interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. This legislation is pending the Governor’s signature.

 

Significant improvements to ignition interlock laws, that will no doubt save lives and protect the public, were passed in South Carolina, Connecticut, Kansas, West Virginia, Indiana, Florida, Rhode Island and Maryland.

 

In South Carolina, one of the toughest states in which to pass drunk driving legislation and a state with one of the worst drunk driving problems in the United States, passed Emma’s Law (S 137) to require ignition interlocks for all repeat drunk drivers and offenders who had a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or greater. This legislation was sponsored by Senator Joel Lourie, along with co-sponsors Larry Martin, Brad Hutto and Ronnie Cromer. Representatives Eddie Tallon, Kit Spires and Rick Quinn helped push the bill through the House.  David Longstreet, Emma’s father, and the entire Longstreet family, along with South Carolina volunteers led by MADD volunteer public policy liaison Laura Hudson, teamed-up and worked tirelessly on this legislation. Emma’s Law was signed into law on April 29th.

 

In Connecticut, the legislature passed a bill making major improvements to the state’s ignition interlock law.  Connecticut had an all-offender interlock law, but they weren’t enforcing it for those offenders caught for the first-time.  This bill fixes that; more than 6,500 first-time offenders will now have to install ignition interlock devices. The leadership of Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, Senator Eric Coleman and Representative Gerry Fox and co-chairs of the Judiciary Committee Representatives Dan Fox and Fred Smith was instrumental in the passage of this legislation.

 

In Kansas, thanks to the leadership of volunteer chapter president Chris Mann, lawmakers improved their interlock law.  In 2011, Kansas lawmakers enacted an all-offender interlock law, but the law had a sunset (or end) date of 2015.  Luckily, lawmakers under the leadership of Representative Rubin and Senator Knox, enacted legislation HB 2427 making their all-offender interlock law permanent.  Since the law went into effect in 2011, drunk driving deaths have dropped by 30 percent.

 

In West Virginia, lawmakers enacted SB 434 improving the state’s all-offender interlock law.  Sponsored by Senator Robert Beach, the new law allows offenders to immediately go an interlock following a DUI.  The new law is estimated to lead to additional 2,500 interlocks installed each year.

 

Indiana lawmakers enacted legislation, HB 1279, to require interlocks for repeat offenders and allow judges to order the devices for first-time offenders. Representative Cindy Kirchhofer authored HB 1344 which was incorporated in the amended version of HB 1279, authored by Representative Jud McMillin and sponsored by Senator R Michael Young, which also establishes a statewide regulatory framework for ignition interlocks that created some challenge for the passage of the bill. Now in place, HB 1279 provides the structure and context for MADD to come back to advocate for a true all-offender legislation.

 

In Florida, lawmakers expanded the existing interlock law, which was for first-time offenders with a BAC of .15 or greater and repeat offenders.  HB 7005/SB 1272, prepared by the Transportation Committee, allows judges to order interlocks for first-time offenders with a BAC of .08 to .14 in lieu of a 10-day vehicle impoundment.  The new law also requires a legislative study committee to study all-offender interlock legislation and issue a report to the legislature before the 2015 session.

 

Rhode Island passed legislation S 2231A and H 8296, sponsored by Senator Susan Sosnowski and Representative Raymond E. Gallison, Jr., to require interlocks for all repeat and first-time offenders with a BAC of .15 or greater.

 

Maryland enacted HB 1015, by Sam Arora and Luke Clippinger, requiring ignition interlocks for anyone convicted of drunk driving with a child passenger in a vehicle.

 

There is still pending all-offender interlock legislation in Ohio, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. MADD is hopeful that these lifesaving laws will advance.

 

Ohio: Annie’s Law (HB 469), sponsored by Representatives Terry Johnson and Gary Scherer, has gained momentum with a press conference that was held on July 10th and the formation of a drunk driving coalition of key stakeholders. Annie’s Law is pending a fall vote in the House Judiciary Committee.

 

New Jersey: H 1368, by Assemblywoman Linda Stender, and companion legislation S 385, by Senator Nicholas Scutari, are pending a hearing and vote in the Senate Budget Committee with possible consideration this fall.

 

North Carolina: There are various bills pending in this short session, which started last month and ends in July, that would require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.

 

Pennsylvania: SB 1036, by Senator John Rafferty, Jr., would require interlocks for all repeat and first-time offenders with a BAC of .10 or greater.  SB 1036 is pending in the Senate Appropriations Committee and may receive consideration in the fall.

 

“As MADD continues to advocate for more effective DUI laws across the nation, we ask Americans to join us and urge your representatives to introduce lifesaving legislation that will protect the public and reduce drunk driving deaths in your state and across the nation,” continued Withers.

 

For more information on ignition interlocks, visit www.madd.org/interlock. And to get involved, please contact your local MADD office or visit www.madd.org for information and resources.

 

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 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. 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 8.6 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.

Lifesaving Legislation Moves to the Senate

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) thanks the New Jersey Assembly for advancing ignition interlock bill – A 1368. Introduced by Assemblywoman Stender, A 1368 will require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, including all first-time offenders. Companion legislation S 385 by Senator Scutari is pending in the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. Similar legislation has been passed in 23 states and these states have recognized a significant reduction in drunk driving deaths.

“MADD believes ignition interlocks for all offenders is the best solution to eliminate drunk driving across the Nation. New Jersey lawmakers have the opportunity to advance this lifesaving legislation that will protect the public from drunk drivers,” said MADD National President Jan Withers. “MADD calls on the Senate to enact this lifesaving legislation next week.”

Drunk driving is a violent crime. And, drunk deaths are 100 percent preventable. Yet in 2012, 164 people in New Jersey were killed in crashes caused by a drunk driver—representing 28 percent of all traffic fatalities. In addition to the extraordinary emotional burden for victims, drunk driving deaths are an unnecessary economic hardship for New Jersey, costing the state and taxpayers $1.1 billion in 2012.

Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that (1) requiring interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers saves lives and is effective in reducing drunk driving recidivism by 67 percent; (2) license suspension alone is no longer a practical way to deal with drunk drivers, as 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers will continue to drive even with a suspended driver’s license; and (3) first-time convicted DUI offender is not a first time drunk driver but rather has driven drunk at least 80 times prior to being arrested.

Currently in New Jersey, interlocks are required for all repeat and first-time convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or greater.  Passage of A 1368/S 385 would require a first-time convicted drunk driver with a BAC of .08 to .14 to use an ignition interlock for a period of three to twelve months unless a Judge determines that aggravating factors dictate that a license suspension would be more appropriate.  The last third of the time on the interlock must be violation free or the offender will have the time on the interlock extended. A 1368 will help change behavior separate alcohol from driving. Interlocked offenders are able to their jobs and provide for their families.

“MADD’s number one legislative priority is to pass lifesaving laws to ensure the public’s safety and eliminate drunk driving. A 1368/S 385 makes sense, and we urge the Senate to pass this legislation. Ignition interlocks for all offenders will save lives,” continued Withers.

States that are enforcing all-offender ignition interlock laws, such as Arizona and Oregon, have seen a reduction in DUI deaths by 43 to 42 percent, largely due to these comprehensive laws requiring all drunk drivers to receive an interlock.

For more information on interlocks, please visit madd.org/interlock.

 

MADD Sends Letter to New Jersey Assembly Urging Support of Ignition Interlock Legislation

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is urging you to take a stand to save lives on New Jersey’s roads. We respectively request you to vote yes on Assembly Bill 1368, introduced by Assemblywoman Linda Stender, which requires the use of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers for a period of at least three months.  A 1368 is MADD’s top legislative priority in New Jersey.

Ignition interlocks for all offenders are an effective countermeasure to reduce DUI recidivism. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), requiring or highly incentivizing interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers reduces drunk driving recidivism by 67 percent.  Currently, 22 states require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, including all first-time offenders. Earlier this month, New Hampshire lawmakers sent legislation to the Governor making the state the 23rd state to enact such a law.

As you are aware, in New Jersey, ignition interlocks are required for all repeat and first-time convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or greater. Under A 1368, a first-time convicted drunk driver with a BAC of .08 to .14 would be required to use an ignition interlock for a period of three to twelve months unless a Judge determines that aggravating factors dictate that a license suspension would be more appropriate.  The last third of the time of the interlock must be violation free while on the interlock or the offender will have the time on the interlock extended. These provisions within A 1368 will help change behavior and teach sober driving to convicted drunk drivers and allow interlocked offenders to keep their jobs, keep providing for their family and at the same time, keep the public safe.

“First-time” offenders are rarely first-time drunk drivers. Conservative estimates show that a first-time convicted DUI offender has driven drunk at least 80 times prior to being arrested.

A 1368 will save lives in New Jersey as similar laws have in other states.  Since New Mexico’s interlock law was implemented in 2005, drunk driving fatalities are down by 38 percent. Since Arizona and Louisiana implemented their interlock law in 2007, drunk driving deaths have decreased by 43 and 35 percent, respectively. In Oregon, as a result of 2008 interlock law, DUI deaths are down 42 percent.

MADD supports A 1368 because research shows that 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers will continue to drive even with a suspended driver’s license.  License suspension alone is no longer a practical way to deal with drunk drivers.  Ignition interlocks allow a convicted drunk driver to continue driving, but in a way that will protect families and other motorists.

Ignition interlocks are paid for by the convicted drunk driver. Under current law, offenders unable to afford an interlock would have the device provided at a lesser cost. Interlocks are proven to save lives and protect the public, while giving DUI offenders the opportunity to continue driving. Now is the chance for you to make a difference. Please vote yes on 1368 and advance this lifesaving legislation.  If you have any questions or need more information, please contact MADD State Legislative Affairs Manager Frank Harris at frank.harris@madd.org or 202-688-1194. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.

MADD Testifies in Favor of Lifesaving Ignition Interlock Legislation

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) will testify before the Assembly Appropriations Committee urging their support of A 1368 on Monday, June 23rd at 9 AM. A 1368, introduced by Assemblywoman Stender, will require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, including all first-time offenders. Similar legislation has been passed in 23 states and these states have recognized a significant reduction in drunk driving deaths.

“MADD believes ignition interlocks for all offenders is the best solution to eliminate drunk driving across the Nation. New Jersey lawmakers have the opportunity to advance this lifesaving legislation that will protect the public from drunk drivers,” said MADD New Jersey Volunteer and National Board Member Steven Benvenisti, Esq., Partner at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, PC, who was almost killed by a drunk driver when he attended The College of New Jersey.

Drunk driving is a violent crime. And, drunk deaths are 100 percent preventable. Yet in 2012, 164

people in New Jersey were killed in crashes caused by a drunk driver—representing 28 percent of all traffic fatalities. In addition to the extraordinary emotional burden for victims, drunk driving deaths are an unnecessary economic hardship for New Jersey, costing the state and taxpayers $1.1 billion in 2012.

Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that (1) requiring interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers saves lives and is effective in reducing drunk driving recidivism by 67 percent; (2) license suspension alone is no longer a practical way to deal with drunk drivers, as 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers will continue to drive even with a suspended driver’s license; and (3) first-time convicted DUI offender is not a first time drunk driver

but rather has driven drunk at least 80 times prior to being arrested.

Currently in New Jersey, interlocks are required for all repeat and first-time convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or greater.  Passage of A 1368 would require a first-time convicted drunk driver with a BAC of .08 to .14 to use an ignition interlock for a period of three to twelve months unless a Judge determines that aggravating factors dictate that a license suspension would be more appropriate.  The last third of the time on the interlock must be violation free or the offender will have the time on the interlock extended. A 1368 will help change behavior separate alcohol from driving. Interlocked offenders are able to their jobs and provide for their families.

“MADD’s number one legislative priority is to pass lifesaving laws to ensure the public’s safety and eliminate drunk driving. A 1368 makes sense, ignition interlocks for all offenders will save lives,” continued Benvenisti.

States that are enforcing all-offender ignition interlock laws, such as Arizona and Oregon, have seen a reduction in DUI deaths by 43 to 42 percent, largely due to these comprehensive laws requiring all drunk drivers to receive an interlock.

For more information on interlocks, please visit madd.org/interlock.

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 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. 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 8.6 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.

 

MADD Applauds New Jersey Lawmakers for Advancing Lifesaving Ignition Interlock Legislation

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) applauds the Assembly Judiciary Committee for their unanimous vote in support of A 1368 on Thursday, May 15th. A 1368, introduced by Assemblywoman Stender, will require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, including all first-time offenders. Twenty-two states have passed similar interlock lifesaving legislation.

“MADD believes the problem of drunk driving can be eliminated with all offender ignition interlock legislation. Today’s vote moves New Jersey one step closer to protecting the public from drunk drivers,” said MADD National President Jan Withers.

Currently, interlocks are required for all repeat and first-time convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or greater.  Passage of A 1368 would require a first-time convicted drunk driver with a BAC of .08 to .14 to use an ignition interlock for a period of three to twelve months unless a Judge determines that aggravating factors dictate that a license suspension would be more appropriate.  The last third of the time on the interlock must be violation free or the offender will have the time on the interlock extended.

“MADD’s number one legislative priority is to pass lifesaving laws to ensure the public’s safety and eliminate drunk driving. A 1368 makes sense, ignition interlocks for all offenders will save lives,” said MADD State Legislative Affairs Manager, Frank Harris.

The “first-time” offender is rarely a first-time drunk driver. Conservative estimates show that a first-time convicted DUI offender has driven drunk at least 80 times prior to being arrested. Ignition interlocks are an effective deterrent to not drive drunk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), interlocks have been shown to reduce repeat offenses by 67 percent, compared to license suspension alone. A 1368 will help change behavior separate alcohol from driving. Interlocked offenders are able to their jobs and provide for their families.

States that are enforcing all-offender ignition interlock laws, such as Arizona and Oregon, have seen a reduction in DUI deaths by 43 to 42 percent, largely due to these comprehensive laws requiring all drunk drivers to receive an interlock.

For more information on interlocks, please visit madd.org/interlock.