Safe Driving Advocacy Groups, State Legislators, and Distillers Applaud Senate Public Safety Committee Passage of SB 421
SACRAMENTO, CA – Anti-drunk driving advocates, distilled spirits producers and Senator Steve Bradford (D-District 35) applauded the passage of SB 421 out of the Senate Public Safety Committee today.
Ignition interlock supporters, composed of representatives from We Save Lives, Recording Artists Against Drunk Driving (RADD), the Coalition of Ignition Interlock Manufacturers, Responsibility.org, and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), united in support of the commonsense legislation, which will require all first-time DUI offenders to install ignition interlocks, even those who are placed on diversion.
“I am proud to sponsor SB 421 which would reduce crashes, injuries, deaths, and repeat DUI offenses while making it easier for offenders to stay employed and seek treatment, said Senator Bradford. “This bill strikes an important balance by protecting the public while putting first time DUI offenders on a path to rehabilitation and away from repeat DUI.”
“If the criminal justice system had processes in place that are outlined in SB 421 when my son was killed, chances are he and many others would be alive today,” said Mary Klotzbach, former MADD National Board member. “I use technology every day in my work as a nurse at a Bay Area Trauma Center to save lives. There are “gold-standard” treatment protocols for diagnoses. It is past time the legislature and society use technology in the same manner when it comes to DUI. We have the cure. An IID is a vaccine in the vehicle to allow the first time “caught” offender a sound pathway to sober driving.”
“My daughter, Cari, was killed in a 1980 drunk driving crash here in California which led to my founding MADD and advocating for laws that prevented DUI deaths and injuries,” said Candace Lightner, President and Founder of We Save Lives. “Last year’s law allowing diversion was a dangerous step backwards. Senate Bill 421 puts important safeguards in place to ensure that DUI offenders cannot drink and drive while undergoing counseling and education. This bill will make the roads safer and save lives.”
SB 421 would strengthen the law passed in California last year that allows judges to grant diversion to first time DUI offenders by:
- Limiting diversion to people with no prior DUI convictions or who have not completed diversion in the previous 10 years
- Requiring as a condition of diversion, that the defendant installs an ignition interlock device and participates in education and counseling programs
- Requiring the Department of Motor Vehicles to include diverted arrests in its tracking of DUI arrest and conviction data
- Counting DUI violations that are dismissed via the diversion program as prior convictions for purposes of subsequent DUI convictions
- Requiring persons convicted of a first time DUI conviction to install and maintain an ignition interlock for six months.
- Extending the required term of ignition interlock installation by 60 days if, within the final 60 days of installation, a driver attempts to start the vehicle when a specified level of alcohol is detected.
- Requiring the Department of Motor Vehicles to work with the courts to establish and maintain a data and monitoring system to track violations of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and include dismissed charges.
“With today’s action, the Senate Public Safety Committee has demonstrated its commitment to preventing impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel—ultimately keeping our roads safer,” said Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) and Responsibility.org President and CEO Chris Swonger. “We urge California legislators to swiftly adopt these commonsense measures in their respective Chambers and send this lifesaving legislation to Governor Newsom’s desk for his signature.”
“The ignition interlock device is perhaps the most effective way to stop DUI offenders from re-offending and is especially impactful when coupled with education, counseling and treatment,” said Erin Meluso, President of RADD. “We urge the Senate to swiftly pass SB 421 to put our state on the road to more effectively preventing impaired driving.”
“Research shows that ignition interlocks prevent impaired driving and save lives. On behalf of the countless victims and families whose lives have been impacted by impaired drivers, we are eager to see this bill adopted into law,” said John Ulczycki, Coalition of Ignition Interlock Manufacturers (CIIM).
About We Save Lives
The mission of We Save Lives is to support and promote solution driven policies and programs that save lives by changing dangerous driving choices through viral awareness, education, advocacy, and partnerships. Learn more at www.wesavelives.org
About the Coalition of Ignition Interlock Manufacturers
The Coalition of Ignition Interlock Manufacturers is comprised of eight of the nation’s leading ignition interlock companies. Member companies of CIIM collect data and report to monitoring authorities who then adjudicate cases involving drunk driving offenders. Since 2006, ignition interlock devices have stopped over 2.3 million attempts by impaired drivers to start their vehicle. Learn more at www.interlockciim.org
About Recording Artists Against Drunk Driving (RADD)
RADD® is the entertainment industry’s voice for road safety and is dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries through edutainment. Through programs such as College is RADD®, messages of impaired and reckless driving prevention are targeted to young adults. By building and maintaining coalitions, RADD® empowers community leaders and local law enforcement. Our science-based programs highlight the necessity of safe driving practices in response to the growing and dangerous trend of mixing drinks, drugs, and speed. Learn more at www.RADD.org.
Responsibility.org is a national not-for-profit that aims to eliminate drunk driving and work with others to end all impaired driving, eliminate underage drinking, and empowers adults to make a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices as part of a balanced lifestyle. Responsibility.org is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; DIAGEO; Edrington, Mast-Jägermeister US, Inc.; Moët Hennessy USA; Ole Smoky, LLC; and Pernod Ricard USA. For nearly 30 years, Responsibility.org has transformed countless lives through programs that bring individuals, families, and communities together to inspire a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices. To learn more, please visit www.Responsibility.org.
About Distilled Spirits Council of the United States
Distilled Spirits Council of the United States is the national trade association representing producers and marketers of distilled spirits sold in the United States. To learn more, visit www.distilledspirits.org