MADD announces 2013 legislative champions


MONTPELIER -- Mothers Against Drunk Driving recently announced its "Legislative Champions" and recognized Sen. Eldred French and former Representative Margaret Cheney for leadership within the Vermont Legislature to stop drunk driving.

"MADD thanks Senator French and the Honorable Cheney for authoring measures aimed at reforming Vermont's DUI law. MADD appreciates their tireless work and commitment to advancing MADD's mission in Vermont by promoting effective DUI countermeasures like ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers," said MADD National President Jan Withers.

In 2013 former Rep. Margaret Cheney authored H 305, which required ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.

In 2012, Sen. Eldred French (a state representative at the time) carried H 768 reforming the state's ignition interlock law by providing for compliance based removal of offenders on the device and providing penalties for circumventing the interlock order.

"I'm honored and thrilled to be recognized. I'm trying to make a difference in the huge substance abuse problem facing us all. As a Senator I hope to be able to begin to bend the curve here in Vermont," said French.

A major portion of MADD's advocacy efforts in states originates from the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving that was launched in 2006. A key component of the campaign calls for enacting laws requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers and supporting legislation that improves current interlock laws, like H 305 and H 768.

"MADD applauds and is grateful to these lawmakers for authoring legislation improving Vermont's drunk driving law. MADD looks forward to more improvements to Vermont's drunk driving law," added Withers.

In 2013, H 305 did not move forward in the legislative process, we hope similar legislation will advance in 2014. An interlock is more effective than license suspension alone, as 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license. Ignition interlocks are effective in reducing drunk driving offenses by 67 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information on ignition interlocks, visit


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