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Alcoholism & Addiction

MADD President to Speak About Ignition Interlock Devices in Kentucky

Laura Dean-Mooney, the National President of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), will speak in Kentucky Thursday, Feb. 18, in support of lifesaving legislation.

A rally will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort in support of House Bill 58, which requires first-time drunk drivers to use an ignition interlock device.

“Convicted drunk driving offenders need to blow into an interlock device before they drive,” said Dean-Mooney. “We know that interlocks stop the offender from driving their vehicle while drunk and prevent future offenses.”

Last week the Appropriations and Revenue Committee of the House of Representatives voted in favor of H.B. 58, clearing the way for a vote on the House floor possibly later this week. The bill is sponsored by Representative Dennis Keene (D-Campbell County) along with 52 co-sponsors. Twelve states already require interlock devices; Kentucky would become the 13th state.

“I welcome the President of MADD to Kentucky to speak out on behalf of drunk-driving victims and their families,” said Rep. Dennis Keene. “It is time to implement legislation that we know will save lives. We have it our power to reduce the number of people from getting behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated which will save families from the suffering that goes along with these tragic circumstances.”

Both Representative Keene and Laura Dean-Mooney have experienced tragedy at the hands of drunk drivers. Representative Dennis Keene nearly lost his daughter in a drunk-driving accident in 2002. She required three subsequent surgeries in order to overcome her injuries. Dean-Mooney’s husband was killed in 1991 by a drunk driver who was driving the wrong way on the highway and was intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of .34.

Under the legislation, an ignition interlock device shall be imposed on the first offense of driving under the influence. In 2008, nearly 200 people lost their lives in Kentucky due to drunk drivers. More than 34,000 people were arrested in 2008 for drunk driving in Kentucky.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, more than 500 of Ohio’s worst repeat DUI offenders have moved to border states to avoid the tougher drunk driving laws in Ohio, and 254 of those repeat offenders have moved to Kentucky.

New Mexico passed similar legislation that has led to a 35% drop in drunk-driving deaths since its passage. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 13,000 people lost their lives in drunk driving accidents in 2007.

“This legislation is a public protection act that will help make our roads safer while saving many lives. I am very proud to champion this legislation and look forward to the governor signing House Bill 58 into law,” said Rep. Keene.

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