Safe Driving Advocacy Groups, State Legislators, and Distillers Celebrate House Judiciary Subcommittee and Senate Judiciary Committee Passage of Ignition Interlock Bills
RALEIGH, N.C. – Anti-drunk driving advocates, distilled spirits producers, sheriffs, lawyers and concerned state legislators applauded the passage of HB 402 and SB 183 out of the House Judiciary Subcommittee 2 and the Senate Judiciary Committees earlier today.
Interlock Ignition supporters, composed of representatives from Advocates for Justice, the Coalition of Ignition Interlock Manufacturers, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, Responsibility.org, and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), united in support of the commonsense legislation, which will bring much needed modernization to the state’s ignition interlock laws.
“On behalf of the drunk driving victims MADD serves every day, we are grateful to the legislators who advanced this lifesaving legislation,” said Jennifer Lichtneger, State Program Director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving of North Carolina. “We are gratified to have worked with a passionate group of safe driving advocates to help shape this legislation. We urge members to follow suit and support this important modernization to stop the tragedies caused by drunk driving.”
The bills aim to modernize North Carolina’s existing ignition interlock laws by:
- Updating rules surrounding certain driving privileges when ignition interlocks are required.
- Removing rigid time and place restrictions in these instances
- Requiring that an ignition interlock only be installed on the person’s primary vehicle, not all vehicles they own.
- Requiring vendors to waive a portion of ignition interlock installation fees and commissioning a study to determine whether to expand the usage of ignition interlock systems.
Advocates had argued the legislation would reduce crashes, injuries, deaths, and repeat DWI offenses while making it easier for DWI offenders to stay employed and seek treatment.
“With the passage of HB 402 and SB 183, North Carolina 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 North Carolina legislators to swiftly adopt these commonsense measures in their respective Chambers and send this important legislation to Governor Cooper’s desk for his signature.”
For several months, a coalition of organizations held meetings facilitated by the UNC School of Government to review and develop a consensus regarding recommended changes for North Carolina’s existing interlock laws, which have fallen behind set precedents in other states. The group, the Ignition Interlock Subcommittee, comprised of a number of safe driving advocates, including: the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, N.C. Conference of District Attorneys, the Office of the N.C. Attorney General, N.C. Advocates for Justice, N.C. Division of Public Health, N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles, N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Coalition of Ignition Interlock Manufacturers, Responsibility.org and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS).
“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 these bills adopted into law,” said Debra Coffey, Vice President of Government Affairs at the Coalition of Ignition Interlock Manufacturers (CIIM).
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.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD has helped to save more than 390,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Visit www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.
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 North Carolina Advocates for Justice
The North Carolina Advocates for Justice is a nonpartisan association of legal professionals dedicated to empowering a strong community of trial lawyers by protecting people, preventing injustice and promoting fairness. To learn more, visit www.ncaj.com
About North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association
The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association is the statewide organization of our state’s 100 Sheriffs. Through their Association, the Sheriffs work to strengthen the professional law enforcement services their offices provide to the people of North Carolina. To learn more, visit www.ncsheriffs.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