Mothers Against Drunk Driving has announced its 2013 Legislative Champions and has recognized Senate Majority Leader David McBride and Rep. Helene Keeley, R-Wilmington, and Rep. Stephen Smyk, R-Milton, for their leadership in authoring legislation HB 201 and HB 212 requiring the use of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.
“MADD thanks Senator McBride along with representatives Keeley and Smyk for authoring these lifesaving measures. MADD appreciates their tireless work and commitment to advancing MADD’s mission in Delaware,” said MADD National President Jan Withers.
The cornerstone of MADD’s advocacy efforts is its Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving that was launched in 2006. A key component of the campaign calls for enacting legislation like HB 201 and HB 212 requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. Prior to the campaign, only one state (New Mexico), required ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. Today, 20 states require or highly incentivize the use of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.
“It is an honor to be recognized by such a fine organization as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. I am very proud to work with MADD to protect the public and save lives. More than twenty years ago I partnered with MADD to pass Delaware’s first victim rights law,” said McBride. “I knew from that day forward how much MADD does for the families of those who have lost a loved one to a drunk driver and how with good laws we could one day put an end to this preventable crime,.
“The legislation I am sponsoring with Senator McBride acknowledges that many DUI offenders still have a need to drive,” said Smyk. “Taking advantage of existing technology, I think we can protect public safety by ensuring that these drivers can only legally operate a vehicle under controlled, monitored conditions. Drunk driving is responsible for too many preventable tragedies in Delaware and I believe we can reduce such incidents through sensible precautions like this. I support MADD’s efforts to curtail impaired driving and I am humbled by their recognition.”
"Fighting drunk driving is an ongoing battle, one I have been involved in for at least a decade. I have sponsored bills creating the ignition interlock system and toughening penalties for repeat DUI offenders,” said Keeley. “The ultimate goal is to keep drunk drivers off the road, and that requires a variety of approaches. We have increased treatment so first-time offenders don’t relapse. We have also increased penalties for repeat offenders, which has led to an increased awareness about driving under the influence. I am hopeful that we can pass the latest ignition interlock bill when we return to session in January and continue to protect motorists from impaired drivers.”
“MADD congratulates these lawmakers for authoring legislation improving Delaware’s drunk driving law. MADD looks forward to the 2014 so we can advance these lifesaving measures,” added Jan Withers.
In 2013, HB 201 and HB 212 were introduced near the end of session. Currently, ignition interlocks are required for all repeat and first-time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or greater in Delaware. An interlock is more effective than license suspension alone, as 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license. Ignition interlocks are effective in reducing repeat drunk driving offenses by 67 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
For more information on ignition interlocks, go to www.madd.org/interlock.