MADD Supports Bill to Strip DUI Immunity from State Lawmakers
Driving drunk is a violent crime and is punishable by law
St. Paul, MN – Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has joined Concordia University political science students in support of HF 2281, referred to as the "DUI Immunity Bill." HF 2281 introduced by Representative Ryan Winkler and companion bill SF 2073 introduced by Senator Kathy Sheran, will change the current privilege of legislative immunity for all offenses that don't qualify as treason, felonies or "breach of the peace." That means if a legislator is pulled over for driving under the influence during the legislative session, no charges are filed. DUI immunity is up for consideration in both the House and Senate.
“Legislators make laws to keep the public safe. These laws must be upheld by everyone, especially those who make them. Drunk driving is 100% preventable and can cause so much devastation. Our lawmakers must be held to the same standards as their constituents,” stated MADD National President Jan Withers.
MADD is dedicated to stopping drunk driving, serving the victims of this violent crime and preventing underage drinking. In 2006, MADD launched the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®, a nationwide effort to dramatically reduce the number of drunk driving fatalities. The Campaign calls for more high visibility law enforcement through sobriety checkpoints, all convicted drunk drivers to use an ignition interlock device, and the development of advanced vehicle technology, like the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), which one day can eliminate drunk driving completely. Annually the organization releases a report to announce legislative accomplishments and highlight state-by-state drunk driving reform.
The 2014 report finds that Minnesota has not been successful in its drunk driving reform. With the possibility of earning five stars for effective measure to reduce drunk driving, only two stars were earned. The state fails to have legislation that gives law enforcement the tools needed to stop drunk driving or effective countermeasures to punish the drunk driver.
Drunk driving is 100 percent preventable. Yet, in 2012 drunk driving took the lives of 114 Minnesotans. Passing legislation to hold lawmakers accountable is of utmost importance in strengthening drunk driving reform within our state. It is in the best interest of everyone in Minnesota keep all drunk drivers off the road.
Allowing the very people who are elected to create our laws and punish criminals to get a free pass to break the law is hypocritical.
Minnesota lawmakers can do more with their power and act accordingly to protect the public from drunk drivers. An all-offender ignition interlock law and sobriety checkpoints will give law enforcement the tools needed to cut drunk driving fatalities.
Throughout the nation, all-offender interlock laws have proven to be instrumental in cutting the number of drunk driving crashes, injuries and fatalities. Research indicates that requiring an ignition interlock for all drunk driving offenders reduces repeat offenses by two-thirds and significantly cuts the number of drunk driving deaths. The law requires a DUI offender to install an ignition interlock, or in-car breathalyzer device. The driver must blow into the device to prove he/she is sober before the car will start.
“MADD calls on every state to adopt all offender ignition interlock laws,” said Withers. “MADD asks lawmakers to give law enforcement the tools needed to stop drunk driving by legalizing sobriety checkpoints and allowing for no refusal events.”
Passage of the DUI Immunity Bill will be a step in the right direction – a step for responsibility and safety.
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.