MADD supports House Bill for DUI ignition interlocks

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

- It's been in the works for years, but Mothers Against Drunk Driving hopes this is the year they can get House Bill 205 passed.

The bill would give a judge the power to impose an ignition interlock device for first time DUI offenders, rather than waiting until they become repeat offenders.

It's a device meant to save lives. "With the ignition interlock, if they blow into the device and they're inebriated, the car is not going to start," says MADD Executive Director Debbie Day.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving-Georgia is supporting House Bill 205, which would give judges the power to impose those devices after someone's first conviction, instead of their second.

"It would be an option, like license suspension, probation, ignition interlock, or a combination of all of those," explains Day.

MADD says Georgia is falling behind every other surrounding state when it comes to DUI punishments. "Thirty-nine states have some kind of legislation for interlock ignitions for first time offenders and Georgia needs to step up to the plate," Day adds.

Especially after a year where Georgia saw fatal wrecks jump 17 -percent. "Statistics show, year over year, 24% of those fatalities are alcohol related," states Day. "We have to do something about this."

Statistics show license suspension is tough to enforce and that a majority of drivers still get behind the wheel anyway. MADD calls ignition interlocks a common sense solution. "It's good for the economy because they stay employed and all of us our safe because they can't drive and drink at the same time," Day says.

Now they just hope it moves through the gold dome. "Whatever we can do to affect saving lives, that's what we want to do. That's why it's so meaningful to work here, is you actually feel like you have a role in helping reduce deaths," adds Day.

A study by the CDC shows interlocks reduce repeat drunk driving offenses by 67-percent. Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been trying to get a tougher law passed since 2011.

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