MADD Applauds Passage Of Drunk Driving Reform
By Katlyn Reece
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Mothers Against Drunk Driving applauds Indiana General Assembly’s passage of a drunk driving reform.
House Bill 1279, authored by Representative Jud McMillin (R-Brookville) and sponsored by Senator R. Michael Young, will improve ignition interlock laws. The bill passed the General Assembly on March 6. It goes into effect July 1, 2015.
MADD voiced their pleasure with the legislation and the work of the lawmakers Thrusday.
“Reducing drunk driving in Indiana begins with requiring interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, starting with the first offense,” said MADD National President Jan Withers. “We need to remain vigilant in our efforts to eliminate these senseless tragedies. Effective countermeasures including ignition interlock legislation has a proven track record of saving lives and stopping drunk driving.”
An ignition interlock is a mechanism about the size of a cell phone that can be installed in a vehicle’s dashboard and functions like a breathalyzer. Drivers have to breathe into the device which then measures their blood alcohol content. If someone is over a specific amount then his or her vehicle will not start. The BAC limits at which the device will allow people to drive vary from state to state, but are commonly .02% to .04%.
Currently, the required installation of ignition interlocks are up to a judge.
Key provisions of HB 1279 include creation of oversight of interlock vendors by the Indiana Department of Toxicology and a special driving permit for convicted drunk drivers ordered on an interlock for at least six months. Judges will also be allowed to keep an offender on an interlock device until he or she has proven sober driving.
In 2012, 229 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver in Indiana, according to MADD. The figure represents 29 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state. In addition to the loss of life and family hardship, the problem costs Indiana’s economy an estimated $1.1 billion.
According to MADD, the average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before a first arrest. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on average, ignition interlocks reduce repeated drunk driving instances by 67 percent compared to license suspension alone.