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June 6, 2014

Lifesaving Legislation Passed

CONCORD —Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) applauds the New Hampshire House Majority Leader Steve Shurtleff and the entire New Hampshire Legislature for passing HB 496, which will protect the public from drunk drivers.

The new law will expand the use of ignition interlocks to include first-time offenders with an illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater who seek to drive during a license suspension period. This lifesaving legislation, which awaits the Governor’s signature, will go into on effect January 1, 2016.

“We are thankful HB 496 has passed the legislature as it will save lives and protect the public from drunk drivers,” said MADD National President Jan Withers. “We commend Majority Leader Shurtleff for his leadership in passing this legislation which is MADD’s number one legislative priority.  MADD calls on Governor Hassan to sign this lifesaving legislation into law.”

When MADD launched the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving in 2006 only one state, New Mexico, had interlock legislation for all offenders. Today, New Hampshire joins 22 other states that have passed lifesaving legislation all-offender interlock legislation.

Ignition interlocks are a strong deterrent to drunk driving behavior, as ignition interlocks separate drinking from driving and teaches sober driving—which license suspension alone does not accomplish Interlocks are more effective than license suspension alone, as 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license and are an effective countermeasure to reduce drunk driving recidivism.

Under the new law, offenders can apply for an interlock restricted license forty-five days after conviction and must use an interlock for the remainder of the license suspension period.  The interlock-restricted license allows for driving privileges for certain reasons including employment, seeking employment, treatment, job training, and medical care for the offender or family member. Offenders who apply for an interlock-restricted license will pay a $100.00 administrative fee to offset costs to the state.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ignition interlocks laws are found to reduce repeat offenses by 67 percent. States with similar laws have reduced drunk driving fatalities by 38 percent in New Mexico, 35 percent in Louisiana, 43 percent in Arizona and 42 percent in Oregon.

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

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