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MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church visits Georgia

MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church visited Georgia on July 29, 2017 to mark the July 1 implementation of HB 205, which gives first-time DUI offenders the option of installing an ignition interlock in lieu of a restricted driving permit.

Including stops in Macon, Albany, Savannah, Augusta and Atlanta, the tour was hosted by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Georgia Department of Public Safety Director Colonel Mark McDonough and Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Harris Blackwood joined Sheehey-Church as she crossed the state to increase awareness of the new law.

An ignition interlock prevents drivers from starting their vehicles if the device sensors detect an alcohol level above the legal limit. They reduce drunk driving offenses by 67 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when compared to license suspension alone. Research from the CDC shows that most first-time DUI offenders have driven drunk at least 80 times prior to their first arrest.

House Bill 205 is the first significant interlock legislation passed in Georgia since 1999. “The passage of HB 205 is a good first step in improving Georgia’s drunk driving laws. Ignition interlocks are the only proven method to protect the lives of the driver and the public and have been credited with stopping over 26,000 attempts to drive drunk in Georgia between 2006 – 2016,” said MADD Georgia State Executive Director Debbie Day.