Today, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) learned that drunk driving deaths in Michigan are increasing at an alarming rate. According to Michigan’s Office of Highway Safety Planning, 303 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2015 — a 28 percent increase over the 236 lives lost in 2014.
“This new information illustrates why MADD has asked the Michigan Legislature to please pass a strong, life-saving law that extends ignition interlock use to all drunk drivers,” said Tyler MacEachran, State Executive Director of MADD Michigan. “Ignition interlocks keep drunk drivers off the road and the public safe.”
Currently in Michigan, convicted repeat drunk drivers and first offenders with at least a .17 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) who wish to drive during their one-year license suspension may receive interlock-restricted driving privileges. HB 5456 by Representative Klint Kesto, which is pending a hearing by the House Judiciary Committee, would expand the ignition interlock option to all drunk driving offenders.
MADD believes all drunk drivers should use an ignition interlock to protect the public while allowing offenders to maintain their daily commitments, including work, school and treatment programs. Multiple studies reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that ignition interlocks reduce repeat drunk driving offenses by 67 percent over license suspension alone.
Another study in Michigan, comparing recidivism of ignition interlock users to offenders participating in DWI/Sobriety Court without ignition interlocks, found offenders who did not use an ignition interlock were 3.2 times more likely to fail out of the Sobriety Court program than offenders who used ignition interlocks. According to the study, commissioned by the Michigan Association of Treatment Court Professionals (MATCP) in cooperation with the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO), recidivism among ignition interlock users remained lower four years after using the device.
“To date, approximately 3.5% of interlock program offenders have been reconvicted for drunk driving offenses,” wrote authors Christopher A. Kierkus and Brian R. Johnson. “In comparison to non-interlock offenders in DWI/Sobriety Court, and to standard probationers, Interlock Program Participants have the lowest recidivism rates after one, two, three and four years of follow up. This is true for both drunk driving related re-offending and for general criminal re-offending.”
According to a MADD report, released February 10, ignition interlocks have prevented drunk drivers from starting their vehicles 86,393 times since October 2010, when Michigan judges began ordering the devices for repeat offenders and offenders with at least a .17 BAC.
“Imagine how many more tragedies could be prevented on Michigan’s roadways if every drunk driving offender used an ignition interlock during their license suspension period,” MacEachran said.
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 changed American culture by introducing the “designated driver” in 1986 and related red ribbon awareness campaign Tie One On For Safety® now in its 30th year. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® is marking its 10th anniversary and reducing drunk driving fatalities by 25 percent since its launch. MADD supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, providing a service every four minutes through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Power of Parents® and Power of Youth® programs reduce underage drinking. Learn more by visiting madd.org or calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.