Yesterday, MADD National President Jan Withers testified before the Delaware House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee in support of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. The committee then unanimously voted to advance the lifesaving legislation.
In 2012, 34 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in Delaware, representing 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state. These tragic deaths are 100 percent preventable.
Currently in Delaware, ignition interlocks are required for all repeat and first-time convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or greater. The proposed bill, HB 212, would strengthen the current law to require ignition interlocks for a period of at least four months for all first-time convicted drunk drivers with an illegal BAC of .08 or greater. It would also require offenders with a very high BAC on first offense and repeat offenders to use an interlock for longer periods.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), requiring or highly incentivizing interlocks for all offenders are proven effective to reducing drunk driving recidivism by 67 percent. Additionally, license suspension alone is no longer a practical way to deal with drunk drivers. Research shows that 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers will continue to drive even with a suspended driver’s license. Ignition interlocks allow a convicted drunk driver to continue driving, but in a way that will protect families and other motorists and pedestrians.
Reducing drunk driving fatalities in Delaware begins with requiring interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. If you live in Delaware, take action now and ask your lawmakers to save lives by supporting HB 212.
There are still several states that do not require or highly incentivize interlock for all offenders, find out if you live in one of these states here, and if so, take action now!