for signing into law a measure that will save lives and make Colorado
roadways safer. The legislation, signed yesterday, strengthens
sanctions and encourages drunk drivers convicted for the first time to
opt for ignition interlocks over a longer license suspension.
"Alcohol ignition interlocks are essential to eliminating drunk
driving in the state of Colorado," said Emily Tompkins, Executive
Director of MADD Colorado. "MADD thanks Governor Ritter and Colorado
lawmakers for passing a bill that strongly encourages interlocks for
offenders convicted for the first time and will save lives in Colorado."
The bill places a strong incentive on the use of alcohol ignition
interlocks by giving first-time convicted offenders the option to
install an interlock to reduce license suspension from nine months to
three months. Colorado drunk driving laws already require ignition
interlocks for those convicted of a second or subsequent drunk driving
offense, or a first offense with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over .17.
MADD recognizes a number of lawmakers for their efforts in sponsoring
and supporting H.B. 1194. Representative Joel Judd (D-Denver) and
Senator Jennifer Veiga (D-Denver) sponsored the legislation and their
leadership in support of this bill was essential to its passage. In
addition, the Interagency Task Force on Drunk Driving was invaluable
in the creation of and in supporting this piece of lifesaving
An alcohol ignition interlock is a breath test device linked to a
vehicle's ignition system. When a driver wishes to start his or her
vehicle, he or she must first blow into the device, but the vehicle
will not start if alcohol is in the driver's system.
"Alcohol ignition interlocks are proven effective and are integral to
our vision of eliminating drunk driving," said Glynn Birch, National
President of MADD. "If every state required alcohol ignition
interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, we could save more than
4,000 lives now lost in repeat drunk driving crashes annually."
Research shows that first-time offenders arrested for drunk driving
have driven drunk more than 87 times before their first arrest. While
H.B. 1194 will expand the use of interlocks in Colorado, MADD will
continue to fight to require alcohol ignition interlocks for all
convicted drunk drivers, including those convicted for the first time,
during next year's legislative session.
MADD's mission is to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this
violent crime and prevent underage drinking. MADD is a 501 (c) (3)
charity with 2 million members and supporters nationwide. Founded in
1980, MADD has helped save more than 330,000 lives. For more
information, visit http://www.madd.org/.