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MADD applauds Tennessee on the passage of new driving law

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed into law lifesaving legislation that will require all convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater to use ignition interlocks on their vehicles to prevent future offenses. With the passage of this law effective July 1, 2013, Tennessee becomes the 18th state to pass such legislation, and the total number of people now protected from repeat drunk driving offenders increases to greater than 112 million.

The new law requires an in-vehicle camera with the installation of every ignition interlock device. This advanced technology will snap a photograph each time the breathalyzer is activated. The camera will discourage violators from blowing for a drunk driver, which will further support efforts to eliminate drunk driving in Tennessee.

“This is a great day for the people of Tennessee 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 Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) National President Jan Withers.

Both Representative Tony Shipley and Senator Mae Beavers championed the legislation that received unanimous votes of support in both the House and the Senate.

“As legislators, the effort to improve public safety should be our highest priority. I am proud to have successfully led the effort to gain passage of the Ignition Interlock Law through the General Assembly and want to thank MADD for their tireless efforts on this important issue,” said Representative Shipley.

“I want to express my appreciation to Senator Mae Beavers for her work in the Senate, to my cosponsors in the House and to Governor Haslam. This is only one part of our comprehensive approach to in creating safer roads across Tennessee. So long as there is one life lost or one family devastated by this preventable problem, we will continue our work to make drinking and driving a thing of the past,” Shipley continued.

When the new law goes into effect, first time drunk driving offenders will be required to use an interlock device for a period of six months as a condition of a restricted license. The use of ignition interlocks for all offenders has proven to be effective in reducing recidivism by nearly two-thirds.

“The use of ignition interlocks is a big step forward in our goal to end drunk driving on Tennessee’s roads. Our residents are safer today because of this lifesaving legislation. These devices have the power to save lives and help offenders at the same time,” said Kendell Poole, Tennessee Governor’s Representative and Chairman of the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration. “Convicted drunk drivers who have an interlock can keep their jobs, keep going to school, and at the same time, keep the public safe.”

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. Statistics show that 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.

To learn more, please visit or by call 1-877-ASK-MADD. 

Posted on: 6/5/2013


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