JACKSON, Miss. (Press Release) — Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) applauded the Mississippi legislature today as Governor Phil Bryant signed into law lifesaving legislation that will require all convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater who seek to drive during license suspension to use ignition interlocks on their vehicles to prevent future offenses. With the passage of this law, Mississippi becomes the 22nd state to pass such legislation and, the total number of people now protected from repeat drunk driving offenders increases to nearly 120 million.
“MADD thanks Speaker Gunn, Lt. Governor Reeves, Representative Gipson and Senator Hopson and Representative Horan for their leadership in sheepherding this legislation,” said MADD National President Jan Withers. “This legislation will strengthen Mississippi’s DUI law and deter individuals from driving under the influence.”
Beginning on October 1, 2014, when the new law goes into effect, first-time drunk driving offenders will be required to use an interlock device for a period of at least 90 days on the first conviction and at least one year for repeat offenses. The use of ignition interlocks for all offenders has proven to be effective in reducing recidivism by nearly two-thirds.
“This is a great day for the people of Mississippi and for our nation as we move closer to our goal to pass legislation requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted offenders at .08 BAC or greater in every state,” said Etoile Frazier Patrick, MADD victim survivor and volunteer.
Studies show that a first-time convicted drunk driver is not a first-time offender, but rather it is simply the first time they have been caught. In fact, first-time offenders have driven drunk an average of 80 times before they are convicted.
The passage of ignition interlock laws is a key element of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® which was launched in 2006. The other two tenets of the Campaign are high visibility enforcement carried out by our heroes in law enforcement who keep the roads safe and development of advanced technology, DADSS or Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety to stop a drunk driving from starting a vehicle.
Last month, Alabama became the 21st state to enact an all-offender interlock law. For more information on MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, please visit www.madd.org/campaign.