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Responsibility.org sponsored a bill advocating for tougher drunk driving laws in Rhode Island.

On Wednesday, the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) joined Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, the Rhode Island chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the RI Department of Transportation (RIDOT), the RI State Police and RI’s Traffic Safety Coalition at the RIDOT Highway Safety Champion Award Ceremony to celebrate passage of Senate Bill 2231. Legislative champions in attendance were Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston), Representative Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) and Senator Stephen Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston). At the ceremony, RIDOT honored law enforcement who go above and beyond to keep RI citizens safe with Highway Safety Champion awards.

The new law, sponsored by Senator V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) and Representative Raymond E. Gallison Jr. (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth) on behalf of Attorney General Kilmartin, will go into effect on January 1, 2015 and mandate the use of ignition interlock devices for convicted DUI offenders with a blood alcohol concentration at 0.15 or above, repeat DUI offenders and offenders who repeatedly refuse BAC tests. The law also authorizes judges to allow first-time offenders to drive to and from work as long as the offender installs an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. This new law also requires alcohol or drug treatment for offenders at their third DUI offense.

We are proud to support this new law and to have worked with the members of the Rhode Island General Assembly, Attorney General Kilmartin and MADD on its passage. We applaud Attorney General Kilmartin’s leadership and Governor Chafee’s action to sign this bill into law.

Responsibility.org is a leader in the fight against drunk driving. The organization supports policies aimed at eliminating drunk driving, which include revoking driver licenses, 0.08 BAC limit for drivers, ignition interlocks for all convicted DUI offenders, high visibility enforcement, BAC education, safe ride and designated driver programs. This year, the Responsibility.org supported drunk driving legislation in 33 states.

In an effort to eliminate drunk driving, Responsibility.org supports the mandatory and effective use of ignition interlocks for all convicted DUI offenders. Effective use of ignition interlocks requires proper assessment and treatment, supervision, and verification of installation for all offenders ordered to install the device. Currently, 24 states and four counties in California require ignition interlock devices for all DUI offenders. We look forward to working with RI lawmakers to make additional improvements so RI can be added to this list.