Recognized By Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) New Jersey for Authoring Ignition Interlock Legislation
TRENTON – State Senator Nicholas P. Scutari and Assemblywoman Linda Stender (both D-Middlesex, Somerset and Union) have been recognized as 2013 Legislative Champions by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for their work to prevent drunk driving in New Jersey by authoring lifesaving ignition interlock legislation.
“I am grateful to receive this recognition from MADD, an organization that is committed to protecting the lives of people across New Jersey,” said Senator Scutari. “Too often we hear about repeat drunk drivers who have gotten behind the wheel and injured or killed someone on our roadways. We all recognized that the current penalty system is not working, and in order to reduce cases of drunk driving we had to take a different approach. I want to thank MADD for its support and advocacy for the ignition interlock legislation and look forward to continuing our work together to ensure it becomes law.”
“I am deeply honored to be recognized by MADD and proud to work alongside their effort to battle drunk drivers and to keep New Jersey drivers safer,” said Stender. “Ignition interlocks are a critical component in preventing convicted drunk drivers from causing serious injury or death to innocent, unsuspecting motorists or pedestrians. There have been many cases of convicted drunk drivers defying their license suspension orders when they think ‘no one is looking.’ This legislation will send a clear message that we are ‘looking’ and we will not tolerate innocent lives being jeopardized. These innocent bystanders are someone’s mother, father, child, sister or brother and no one should have to endure the tragedy of losing them senselessly.”
In New Jersey, about a third of all traffic fatalities are attributable to drunken driving. MADD has advocated for the ignition interlock devices in states across the country, as part of its Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. The organization has noted that the interlock is more effective than license suspension alone, as 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license.
The legislators’ bill (S2427/A3835) would require that all convicted drunk drivers install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for a period of time. Currently in New Jersey, the devices are required for all repeat offenders and first-time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or greater. The bill was approved by the Senate in XX. It is pending consideration in the Assembly.