New law could help cut down on drunk driving

ATLANTA — A new law meant to protect you from drunk drivers is now in effect in Georgia.

In the first change to Georgia’s DUI law in nearly 20 years, the state will now begin enforcing an ignition interlock law.

The law will require some first-time offenders to install an ignition interlock device, which prevents a car from starting if the sensors detect the alcohol level on the driver’s breath is above the legal limit for them to operate a vehicle.

Debbie Day, executive director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Georgia, said ignition interlocks have saved more than 2 million lives across the country.


"It's the only proven technology that protect both the public and the drunk driver," she said.

Day said the law will change the sentencing for some first-time offenders, who until now, had their driving severely restricted.

"We went through the entire legislative process in 2016. It took us 17 years to get first-time DUI offenders legislation in front of legislatures and get it passed," she said.

During the 4th of July weekend last year, 12 people died in drunk driving crashes in Georgia. Day wants to reduce those numbers and said the work will continue.

"Our goal now is to go to an all-offender legislation which makes it mandatory, not just optional. Thirty other states have that, so we want to be the 31st," she said.

DUI enforcement is in full effect. Police have said they will have extra officers on the road through Wednesday.