S. 6598B/A. 1325B Would Increase Ignition Interlock Use by Drunk Drivers

ALBANY – Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) calls on the New York State Assembly to pass a bill that would help reduce repeat drunk driving offenses in New York by up to 70%. The legislation, S. 6598B by Senator Jeremy Cooney, would close loopholes in New York’s drunk driving law by including an ignition interlock requirement for all plea agreements and new incentives for drunk drivers to install this device.

The Senate passed S. 6598B today, and the Assembly must pass this lifesaving legislation by Thursday – before the legislative session ends – for the bill to advance to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law. S. 6598B is the same as A. 1325B by Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner.

“MADD is grateful to Senator Cooney and Assemblywoman Woerner for authoring this lifesaving legislation. MADD applauds the Senate for passing this legislation. We call on the Assembly to follow the lead of Senate to advancing this lifesaving legislation. This improvement to New York’s ignition interlock is needed right now. We cannot wait another year to start saving more lives and preventing the traumatic injuries caused by drunk driving,” said Erica Linn, a MADD National Board member and New York resident whose parents were killed by a drunk driver in October 2016. “We know that ignition interlocks prevent repeat drunk driving offenses by up to 70% when they are used. The key to this legislation is that it will make sure more offenders will use them.”

In 2009, New York became one of the first states to require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers as part of Leandra’s Law. Today, 34 states plus Washington D.C. require these devices for all convicted drunk drivers.

In New York only 26% of arrested drunk drivers install these lifesaving devices. Earlier this year, MADD released a report that gave New York’s interlock law a D+. However, even with the limited law, interlocks still prevented more than 111,000 attempts by interlock users to drive drunk with a BAC of .08 or greater from 2006 to 2020. For more information on ignition interlocks, please visit www.madd.org/iidlaw.

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 400,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50% 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.

Contact: Becky Iannotta, becky.iannotta@madd.org