Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed into law legislation that will require all convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater to use ignition interlocks on their vehicles to prevent future offenses.
Tennessee becomes the 18th state to pass such legislation. Supporters said, "The total number of people now protected from repeat drunk driving offenders increases to greater than 112 million."
The new law requires an in-vehicle camera with the installation of every ignition interlock device. It will snap a photograph each time the breathalyzer is activated. The camera is designed to discourage violators from blowing for a drunk driver.
Rep. Kevin Brooks of Cleveland said, “The Brooks family was proud to partner with MADD on this important legislation. As the father of two young drivers, it is an imperative for us to do all we can to insure the safety and security of every family in Tennessee. We look forward to the day when we will no longer hear the cry of a mother or plea of a father who has lost a child due to a DUI crash in Tennessee.”
“As legislators, the effort to improve public safety should be our highest priority. I am proud to have successfully led the effort to gain passage of the Ignition Interlock Law through the General Assembly and want to thank MADD for their tireless efforts on this important issue,” said Rep. Tony Shipley. “I want to express my appreciation to Senator Mae Beavers for her work in the Senate, to my cosponsors in the House and to Governor Haslam. This is only one part of our comprehensive approach to in creating safer roads across Tennessee. So long as there is one life lost or one family devastated by this preventable problem, we will continue our work to make drinking and driving a thing of the past.”
Beginning July 1, when the new law goes into effect, first time drunk driving offenders will be required to use an interlock device for a period of six months as a condition of a restricted license. The use of ignition interlocks for all offenders has proven to be effective in reducing recidivism by nearly two-thirds.
“This is a great day for the people of Tennessee and for our nation as we move closer to our goal to pass legislation requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted offenders at .08 BAC or greater in every state,” said Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) National President Jan Withers.
“The use of ignition interlocks is a big step forward in our goal to end drunk driving on Tennessee’s roads. Our residents are safer today because of this lifesaving legislation. These devices have the power to save lives and help offenders at the same time,” said Kendell Poole, Tennessee Governor’s Representative and chairman of the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration. “Convicted drunk drivers who have an interlock can keep their jobs, keep going to school, and at the same time, keep the public safe.”