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Increase in Traffic Fatalities Highlights Need for Strong Ignition Interlock Laws

Safety Council Recommendations Support MADD’s Push for All-Offender Laws in Every State


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WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 15, 2017) — Today, the National Safety Council estimated up to 40,000 people were killed in traffic crashes on our nation’s roadways in 2016 — a 6 percent increase over 2015 and a 14 percent increase over 2014, marking the largest rise in traffic fatalities since 1964.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is alarmed by the increase in these tragedies, which we know are 100 percent preventable. The Safety Council blames impairment, speed and distraction as the primary cause for traffic fatalities.

“These tragedies must stop,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church. “For the nearly 1 million victims MADD has served, we must all work together to pass stronger laws that will bring an end to the carnage on our roads.”

Among the Safety Council recommendations for safer roads is a recommendation that every state pass laws mandating ignition interlocks for all drunk drivers.

“MADD could not agree more with this recommendation,” Sheehey-Church said. “This is our Number One priority in the 22 states that do not have an all-offender ignition interlock law. States like Florida, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Wisconsin will be hearing a lot from MADD this year. And we are working hard to make sure states that do have these laws keep them in place or even strengthen them to make them even more effective.”

MADD’s push for all-offender ignition interlock laws is part of the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving launched in 2006. Along with all-offender ignition interlock laws, the Campaign calls for sobriety checkpoints and high-visibility law enforcement, and development of future in-car technology to passively detect alcohol on a driver’s breath or through skin, called the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS).

For more information on ignition interlocks, visit

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 340,000 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 or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.

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