Last week, the Oklahoma Legislature voted overwhelmingly to make Oklahoma the 29th state to pass an all-offender ignition interlock law. If Governor Fallin signs SB 643 into law, all drunk driving offenders will need to install an ignition interlock for at least six months in order to drive. He has until June 10th to sign the bill into law.
Oklahoma could soon join all of the surrounding states — Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Colorado and New Mexico — in passing laws that require or highly incentivize all drunk driving offenders to use an ignition interlock.
MADD believes in these devices because we know they save lives. No other technology available today can stop a car from starting if alcohol is detected on the driver’s breath. Study after study has shown that ignition interlocks reduce drunk driving deaths — the most recent studies by the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University show reductions of 7 and 15 percent, respectively. That’s why we are working hard to pass these laws in every state.
Oklahoma’s law would require the use of interlocks for at least six months to regain driving privileges during a license revocation period. The legislation also creates the Impaired Driver Accountability Program (IDAP) to allow first-time offenders to attend treatment and other alcohol programs while using an ignition interlock to ensure public safety. Upon successful completion of the program, the offense would be sealed — a new incentive to get more people using an interlock (and the subject of an upcoming blog, so stay tuned).
When MADD launched our Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® in 2006, we set out on an ambitious mission to pass all-offender ignition interlock laws in all 50 states. Back then, just one state — New Mexico — had such a law. In just a few weeks, with Governor Fallin’s signature, Oklahoma will bring us within 21 states of making our goal. That might sound like a lot, but we are already well past the half-way mark in just 10 years. One state at a time, we can achieve our goal of stopping repeat drunk driving offenses, and ultimately eliminating drunk driving once and for all.
Would you like to help advocate for an all-offender law in your state? Contact Frank Harris at [email protected] or call 202.688.1194 to find out how.