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MADD lauds Texas' proposed ignition interlock bill


Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) strongly supports HB 2246 sponsored by Rep. Jason Villalba, which requires ignition interlocks for 90 days to one year for all convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more.
Ignition interlocks prevent vehicles from starting if the hand-held device detects alcohol on the driver's breath. Under existing law, interlocks are required for repeat offenders and as a condition of probation for first-time offenders with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .15 or greater - nearly twice the legal limit.
HB 2246 would make the interlock a condition of license reinstatement during license suspension for any convicted drunk driver including first-time offenders, not as a as condition of probation. However, judges would still have the ability to order interlocks as a condition of probation and in other circumstances per current law.
"A law requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers is desperately needed in Texas," said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church. "Texas leads the country in deaths caused by a drunk driver. Ignition interlocks save lives, and it's time for Texas to expand the reach of its interlock law to help end this violent, preventable crime."
According to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1,337 fatalities in Texas were caused by drunk drivers in 2013. Another 15,687 people were injured.
Ignition interlock legislation is MADD's number one legislative priority across the country and in Texas. Due in part to similar laws already in place in 24 states, drunk driving deaths have declined dramatically. For example, New Mexico and Arizona have seen a 40 percent and 45 percent reduction, respectively, in drunk driving deaths since passing all-offender interlock laws.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, ignition interlocks reduce repeat offenses by 67 percent when compared with license suspensions. The CDC recommends widespread use of ignition interlocks, including for first-time offenders.
Additionally, the National Transportation Safety Board and every major traffic safety organization, including AAA and the Governors Highway Safety Association, recommend the use of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.