Trenton, NJ – Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) applauds the Assembly Judiciary Committee for their unanimous vote in support of A 1368 on Thursday, May 15th. A 1368, introduced by Assemblywoman Stender, will require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, including all first-time offenders. Twenty-two states have passed similar interlock lifesaving legislation.

“MADD believes the problem of drunk driving can be eliminated with all offender ignition interlock legislation. Today’s vote moves New Jersey one step closer to protecting the public from drunk drivers,” said MADD National President Jan Withers.

Currently, interlocks are required for all repeat and first-time convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or greater.  Passage of A 1368 would require a first-time convicted drunk driver with a BAC of .08 to .14 to use an ignition interlock for a period of three to twelve months unless a Judge determines that aggravating factors dictate that a license suspension would be more appropriate.  The last third of the time on the interlock must be violation free or the offender will have the time on the interlock extended.

 “MADD’s number one legislative priority is to pass lifesaving laws to ensure the public’s safety and eliminate drunk driving. A 1368 makes sense, ignition interlocks for all offenders will save lives,” said MADD State Legislative Affairs Manager, Frank Harris.

The “first-time” offender is rarely a first-time drunk driver. Conservative estimates show that a first-time convicted DUI offender has driven drunk at least 80 times prior to being arrested. Ignition interlocks are an effective deterrent to not drive drunk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), interlocks have been shown to reduce repeat offenses by 67 percent, compared to license suspension alone. A 1368 will help change behavior separate alcohol from driving. Interlocked offenders are able to their jobs and provide for their families.

States that are enforcing all-offender ignition interlock laws, such as Arizona and Oregon, have seen a reduction in DUI deaths by 43 to 42 percent, largely due to these comprehensive laws requiring all drunk drivers to receive an interlock. 

For more information on interlocks, please visit madd.org/interlock.