DWI Prevention Bill Passes Legislature

Published 10:22 am Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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Baton Rouge, LA – House Bill 484 by Representative Rick Edmonds (R-Baton Rouge) has passed the Louisiana Legislature and is set to become law later this year. The bill aligns Louisiana with forty-six other states and the District of Columbia by making drivers prove they will drive sober before their full driver’s license is reinstated. The bill reduces the blood alcohol content (BAC) level that triggers “enhancements” already being used in current law from .20 BAC to .15 BAC (nearly twice the legal limit). It also helps defendants by removing the current waiting period — 30 to 45 days — before a driver can get back on the road. Instead, the new legislation allows those accused or convicted of DWI to drive right away with proper monitoring.

“I’m so proud to partner with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to make this change that will save lives in our state. Congratulations to MADD! Its volunteer members have tirelessly and passionately advocated for this bill that reminds all of us how precious life is,” Edmonds said of his newly passed legislation.

“Alcohol-related road fatalities deaths are 100% preventable. According to LSU statistics, 29 percent of our alcohol-related road fatalities happen between .10 and .15 BAC, but the current law doesn’t address it. This bill will do just that.” said Mary-Patricia Wray, government affairs consultant to MADD. “This important legislation has been a long time coming for our state, where we have one of the highest recidivism rates in America.”

The facts behind this important legislation:

  • DWI-related fatalities in Louisiana increased by 32% between 2020 and 2021. That’s according to LSU’s Louisiana Traffic Records Data Report in 2021. 
  • In Louisiana, ignition interlocks have stopped 135,090 driving attempts with a BAC of 0.08 or higher since 2006.  In 2020 alone, ignition interlocks stopped 17,462 driving attempts with a BAC of 0.08 or higher.
  • Until the passage of HB484, Louisiana remained one of only four states in America that didn’t trigger harsher consequences for first offenders with blood alcohol lower than .20 BAC. 
  • In the last five years, 68% of Louisiana’s DWI arrests involved drivers with a BAC of .10 or greater. 

Organizations that support independently created best standards supported this legislation in Louisiana:

  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 
  • National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), America Motor Vehicle Administrators Association (AMVA), 
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), 
  • American Automobile Association (AAA), 
  • Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, 
  • Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, 
  • National Alliance to Stop Impaired Driving (NASID), 
  • National Safety Council, 
  • Responsibility.Org, and 
  • Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).