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Governor Signs Biggest Drunk Driving Reform Bill since 1997
BOISE (March 27, 2018) — Idaho Governor Butch Otter signed a drunk driving reform bill on Monday that will require all first-time convicted drunk driving offenders to have an ignition interlock installed on their vehicle for one year. The new law supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) makes Idaho the 31st state with an ignition interlock law for all drunk driving offenders.
“This lifesaving, all-offender ignition interlock law will save lives by stopping drunk driving offenders from repeating their crime,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church. “Previously, Idaho had one of the weakest ignition interlock laws. Now Idaho will join 30 other states and Washington, D.C. in recognizing this is the best way to protect the public while also allowing a drunk driver to carry out normal daily activities. The only catch is the device on their car won’t let them drive drunk.”
The in-car devices prevent a vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected on the driver’s breath. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all-offender interlock laws reduce drunk driving recidivism by 67 percent, which is why MADD is pushing for all-offender ignition interlock laws in all 50 states.
The new law, led through the Legislature by Senator Grant Burgoyne and Representative Melissa Wintrow, takes effect Jan. 1, 2019. It replaces the current Idaho law that requires license suspension for first offenders and ignition interlocks only after the second and subsequent drunk driving offenses. Now only one state — Massachusetts — does not have an interlock program for first-time offenders.
This is the biggest DUI reform proposal to pass the Idaho legislature since 1997, when lawmakers enact the .08 per se law. The new law requires that the interlocks will be equipped with cameras to make sure the driver’s breath is being tested. Rolling retests of the driver’s breath will also be required.
“MADD is thrilled to add Idaho to the growing list of all-offender ignition interlock states,” Sheehey-Church said. “We are hard at work in several other states to pass similar laws, and we won’t stop until we get to all 50 states. That includes Massachusetts, which will soon become the only state in the nation with no path for an interlock after the first offense. This must change, so that everyone traveling our nation’s roadways are provided the same protection from these senseless, violent and preventable crimes.”
For more information on ignition interlocks, 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 end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD has helped to save more than 350,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Visit www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.