Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White was recognized Tuesday by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) National President Colleen Sheehey-Church as the 2015 Legislative Champion. Sheehey-Church cited White’s leadership in the fight against drunk driving, and his efforts to implement and improve Illinois’ Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) program.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White was recognized Tuesday by Mothers Against Drunk Driving National President Colleen Sheehey-Church as the 2015 Legislative Champion.
Sheehey-Church cited White’s leadership in the fight against drunken driving and his efforts to implement and improve Illinois’ breath alcohol ignition interlock device program.
“I am honored to receive this prestigious recognition,” White said. “I want to applaud and commend MADD and MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church for all they do to help combat drunk driving, not only in Illinois, but across the nation. MADD’s tireless efforts have saved thousands of lives, and made roads in Illinois and around the country much safer. But I want to be clear, we have more work to do and we must remain vigilant in keeping drunk drivers off of our roads.
“MADD is thankful for the leadership of Secretary of State White for recognizing that our battle to stop the scourge of drunk driving is not nearly finished,” MADD National President Sheehey-Church said. “His fearless leadership has set the tone for many to rededicate themselves this year to eliminating drunk driving once and for all.”
Illinois has become a national leader for its DUI countermeasure efforts, having been awarded a top 5-star rating from MADD. Illinois’ breath alcohol ignition interlock device program was highlighted by MADD as a key reason for the top ranking.
White noted that over the last two years his office’s ignition interlock program has prevented more than 90,000 vehicles from starting because driver breath tests detected alcohol. Since 2009, when White expanded the program to include first-time DUI offenders, drunken driving deaths in Illinois have dropped by 24 percent.
The program requires all first-time DUI offenders who wish to continue driving to install an interlock device on their vehicles. Motorists are required to blow into the device, which measures their blood-alcohol content levels. The device is designed to prevent DUI offenders from driving after having consumed alcohol.
White and Sheehey-Church also reminded people to travel safely on Nov. 25, the night before Thanksgiving, which is known as Blackout Wednesday. This has become one of the biggest drinking nights of the year.
“As we welcome students, friends and relatives home, let’s remember to celebrate this long holiday weekend safely and responsibly,” White said. “Enjoy the festivities, but don’t drink and drive. Call a cab, use public transportation or designate a sober driver.”