Jackson, MS – Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) applauds the Mississippi Legislature for passing HB 412 during the 2014 session to eliminate drunk driving and save lives. The new law, authored by Representative Andy Gipson, will expand the use of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, including first-time convicted drunk drivers with an illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater who seek driving privileges during a license suspension and as a condition of applying for non-adjudication. The new law also permits Mississippi to apply for additional federal funding under a new highway safety grant program.
“MADD thanks Speaker Gunn, Representative Gipson, Senator Hopson, and Representative Horan for their leadership and commitment to the passage of this very important piece of legislation that will protect the public from drunk drivers,” said MADD National President Jan Withers.
When MADD launched the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving in 2006 only one state, New Mexico, required interlock for all convicted drunk drivers. Today Mississippi joins 21 other states that have enacted these lifesaving laws. MADD has made ignition interlocks for all offenders its number one legislative priority.
“I am grateful for the passage of HB 412. I lost my son seven years ago to a drunk driver. This law will save the innocent children that are taken from us because of the reckless choice of another,” said MADD volunteer and victim Etoile Frazier Patrick.
Prior to passage of HB 412 the installation of an ignition interlock in Mississippi was completely up to a judge’s discretion. Under HB 412, any first-time convicted drunk driver who obtains driving privileges during a license suspension must use an interlock for at least 90 days on a first-conviction and at least one year for repeat offenses.
“Our efforts to eliminate drunk driving are making a difference throughout the nation,” said MADD National President Jan Withers. “Passage of an all-offender ignition interlock law shows everyone that Mississippi will not tolerate drunk driving.”
On March 18, Alabama become the 21st state to enact an all-offender interlock law. The legislation, like HB 412, is pending the Governor’s signature. For more information on interlocks, please visit www.madd.org/interlock.