MADD Calls on Massachusetts to Require Ignition Interlocks for All Convicted Drunk Drivers, in Wake of Study Showing Broken Judicial System
Instead of Acquitting Drunk Driving Defendants, Courts Must Deter Would-be Offenders
BOSTON – Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is calling on Massachusetts lawmakers to require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, in response to a recently-released Supreme Judicial Court study report showing that the state’s judicial system is putting lives at risk on its roadways. The study shows astonishingly high acquittal rates when drunken driving cases go to trial, with issues of defendants using “judge shopping” tactics, defense attorneys arguing timeframe technicalities for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing, and courts not allowing a defendant’s refusal of a BAC test to be admitted as evidence.
“Not only do the study findings suggest a widespread problem with the Massachusetts judicial system, they show a huge problem with the state’s drunk driving laws in general,” said MADD National President Jan Withers. “The current system in Massachusetts is broken, and MADD urges legislators to make critical improvements to save lives and prevent injuries, including requiring all convicted drunk drivers to use ignition interlocks for at least 6 months.”
Ignition interlocks are far more effective in reducing drunk driving than license suspension alone, since 50 to 75 percent of people continue to drive with a suspended license. Offenders can continue driving to work or school with an interlock on their vehicle, while also learning to drive sober. In fact, ignition interlocks have been found to reduce repeat drunk driving offenses by two-thirds, and are a key part of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®. States such as Oregon and Arizona have seen their drunk driving fatalities cut in half since requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.
“The results of this study provide an opportunity for Massachusetts to close loopholes and improve its laws to prevent drunk driving,” added Withers. “MADD supports the improvements suggested in the report, and we are committed to working with state lawmakers to make roads safer for Massachusetts families.”
For information about MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, visit www.madd.org/campaign.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded 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. PowerTalk 21® is the national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol, using the proven strategies of Power of Parents® to reduce the risk of underage drinking. 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 eight 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.
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