Monday, July 28, 2014
When Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) launched its “Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving” in the fall of 2006, one state, New Mexico, had an all-offender ignition interlock law. Since then, 23 states have passed all-offender ignition interlock legislation. The campaign continues to be the nation's blueprint to eliminate drunk driving, and much of its success is due to passage of strong DUI laws in all 50 states. Drunk driving deaths are down more than 24 percent since 2006 and, while much has been accomplished, much more must be done.
“As we continue to sound the drumbeat that high-visibility enforcement and ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers are the best ways to stop drunk driving, it is important to recognize that this issue continues to be a problem across the nation,” said MADD National President Jan Withers.
So far this year, MADD has successfully passed major legislation aimed at stopping drunk driving. By sharing the devastating stories of drunk driving deaths and injuries, MADD continues to put a face to this violent crime. During the past few months, MADD has worked closely with local DUI victims to educate, inform and speak about the importance of effective drunk driving laws in every state. Today, nearly half of the nation (24 states) has passed an all-offender ignition interlock law.
Already in 2014, four states have passed all-offender interlock legislation, eight states have improved legislation by closing loopholes, and four states are still working to pass bills.
Significant improvements to ignition interlock laws, that will no doubt save lives and protect the public, were passed in South Carolina, Connecticut, Kansas, West Virginia, Indiana, Florida, Rhode Island and Maryland.
In South Carolina, one of the toughest states in which to pass drunk driving legislation and a state with one of the worst drunk driving problems in the United States, passed Emma's Law (S 137) to require ignition interlocks for all repeat drunk drivers and offenders who had a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or greater. This legislation was sponsored by Senator Joel Lourie, along with co-sponsors Larry Martin, Brad Hutto and Ronnie Cromer. Representatives Eddie Tallon, Kit Spires and Rick Quinn helped push the bill through the House. David Longstreet, Emma's father, and the entire Longstreet family, along with South Carolina volunteers led by MADD volunteer public policy liaison Laura Hudson, teamed up and worked tirelessly on this legislation. Emma's Law was signed into law on April 29th.