According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 108 people were killed in Massachusetts due to drunk drivers in 2009. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has initiated a fight for legislators to support an extended reach of ignition interlock devices and monitoring. An interlock device prevents a driver from operating a vehicle if they do not pass the breathalyzer test. If the driver passes the interlock the vehicle will start however if their BAC is not up to par the vehicle will remain as it is.
In Massachusetts repeat drunk driving offenders are required to have the systems in their vehicles for the first two years. MADD is asking to reach further and include the requirement for first time offenders during the first 6 months their licnese is reinstated. Drivers will gain training in how to use the device to ensure proper use. The ignition interlock system typically costs $100 – $200 for installation with a monthly rental fee of approximately $70 – $100. The device is programed to prevent a vehicle from starting should you have too high BAC, have a friend blow into the device, use a mechanical device to blow into the system or tamper with it in any way. Drinking and driving is a serious matter. MADD is working along side Senator Robert Hedlund, sponsor of the bill, to ensure drunk driving recognized as such.
Yesterday MADD Massachusetts honored more than 30 state troopers, 45 local police officers, five assistant district attorneys and 10 local police department for their commitment to enforcing drunk driving laws. The local police departments received the Drive for Life award for holding sobriety check points in 2010. The honorary breakfast speaker this year was Chris Doyle, a former Wilbraham Police Officer. Doyle was seriously injured sustaining a traumatic brain injury among others while on duty August of 2006 when he was struck by a three-time offender at a construction roadblock. The combined efforts of this year’s honorees worked together making over 2,800 drunk driving arrests in 2009 averaging almost eight drunk driving arrests per day!
“Drunk driving is the most frequently committed violent crime in the United States, affecting three out of every 10 Americans. In Massachusetts, 124 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2008 representing 34% of all traffic fatalities in the Commonwealth.”
Taking the fight against drunk driving to another level the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles shares drunk driving statistics with the public. The RMV has also released that over 4,000 repeat drunk drivers have ignition interlock devices installed on the vehicle. Only 27 of the 1,600 repeat offenders who’ve already completed the interlock program have re-offended after the interlocks removal.
MADD is non-profit organization with more than 400 entities nationwide. MADD proclaims their mission is to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking. The organization was founded in 1980 by two mothers who transformed their losses into a national movement putting a stop to drunk driving. MADD works to provide critical emotional support for survivors, family members and friends coping with the death of a loved one caused by a drunk driver.
MADD’s website claims in 2007 almost 13,000 people died in drunk driving crashes, representing 305 of all highway fatalities in the Commonwealth. Reiterating the fact found in the WNYT article above, MADD cites the National Highway Safety Administration to estimate during one’s life time three in ten people will be killed or injured by a drunk driver. Drunk driving is NOT something to take lightly, for more information on how to become involved with or seek help from MADD please visit their website at: www.maddmass.com.