MADD Urges Delaware to Enact New Drunk Driving Law - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

MADD Urges Delaware to Enact New Drunk Driving Law


MILTON, Del. - In a report to the nation regarding its campaign to end drunk driving, Mother's Against Drunk Driving urged Delaware to adopt a new law involving ignition interlocks.

Currently, Delaware law requires first-time drunk drivers who had a blood alcohol level of .15 or higher or any second offenders to use an ignition interlock. This device is installed in an offenders car and measures the drivers blood alcohol content before they can drive.

MADD wants Delaware to make this device an option for any first-time offenders. 

Delaware State Rep. Steve Smyk, R-Milton, along with Senate Majority Leader David McBride and Rep. Helene Keeley, D-Wilmington, are working on two house bills that would make the device an alternative to 90-day license suspension for any and all first-time offenders.

The device requires the driver to blow into it for five seconds. If they hit a BAC under .020 then the car will start. If they don't, the car will not start.

But some people worry that the driver will get someone else to blow into the device for them. Representative Smyk said a ignition interlock with a camera is being developed. However this would require writing the bill in a way that would allow future versions of the device.

"With the help of MADD and the help of interlock systems, the help of AAA, then what we can do is we can draft this language so with the next new and better technology we can apply it immediately," Smyk said.

Smyk also said this bill would be especially helpful in Sussex County, where there is not a widely available public transportation system for those with suspended licenses to use.

Jack Dalton works for LifeSafer, a company that installs the car device, and has been a big part of getting the bill to the legislation. He and Smyk say the device will eliminate a huge number of drunk driving incidents. Dalton said many drunk driving accidents are caused by previous offenders and the ignition interlock would be a preemptive strike.

"The ignition interlock is the answer to drunk driving," he said. "It's what will stop a drunk driver from getting behind the wheel and driving the car."

But not everyone thinks this law that is already in effect in 20 other states is the best idea.

"It's an invasion of privacy, we don't need people looking real close at us," Steve Roberts from Denver, Co. said. "They just need to watch us and make sure when you're breaking the law you get stopped."

Smyk said he believes the two House bills (201 and 212) will eventually form one comprehensive law regarding ignition interlocks. For now though, the bills are still in the workshop phase.


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