New Jersey poised to become 25th state to require drunk drivers to use an ignition interlock.
Trenton, NJ – Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) thanks the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for advancing S 385/A 1368 on Monday, October 27. S 385/A 1368, introduced by Assemblywoman Stender and Senator Scutari, will require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, including all first-time offenders. If the Senate advances this measure to the Governor, New Jersey would be the 25th state to enact such lifesaving ignition interlock legislation.
“MADD thanks Senator Scutari and Assemblywoman Stender for authoring this lifesaving legislation,” said MADD National Board Member and New Jersey resident Steven Benvenisti, Esq. “Similar laws have reduced DUI deaths and injuries in other states. MADD applauds the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for their leadership in advancing S 385/A 1368 and we call on the Senate to send this lifesaving measure to Governor Christie for approval.”
Arizona and Oregon have similar laws and have reduced DWI deaths by 43 and 42 percent respectfully, largely due to these comprehensive laws requiring all drunk drivers to receive an interlock.
Currently, interlocks are required for all repeat and first-time convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or greater. Passage of S/385 A 1368 would require a first-time convicted drunk driver with a BAC of .08 to .14 to use an ignition interlock for a period of three to twelve months. The last third of the time on the interlock must be violation free or the offender will have the time on the interlock extended.
Earlier this year, the Assembly passed A 1368. Last session, the Senate passed similar legislation (S 2427) with only two dissenting votes.
“MADD’s number one legislative priority in New Jersey is making sure S 385/A 1368 becomes law. As a MADD New Jersey volunteer, personal injury attorney and survivor of a pedestrian crash caused by a repeat offender drunk driver, I know firsthand the devastation that can be caused by a repeat offender drunk driver,” said Benvenisti. “I ask lawmakers to consider my story and the stories of so many others and act accordingly by advancing S 385/A 1368. This law is proven to save lives just as it has in other states.”
The “first-time” offender is rarely a first-time drunk driver. Conservative estimates show that a first-time convicted DWI offender has driven drunk at least 80 times prior to being arrested. Ignition interlocks are an effective deterrent to not drive drunk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), interlocks have been shown to reduce repeat offenses by 67 percent, compared to license suspension alone. In addition, 50-75 percent of convicted drunk drivers will continue to drive on a suspended license, so license suspension alone is no longer an appropriate countermeasure for stopping drunk drivers. A 1368 will help change behavior and separate alcohol from driving. Interlocked offenders are able to perform their jobs and provide for their families.
For more information on interlocks, please 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 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 atwww.madd.org or by calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.