New law affecting accused DUI offenders starts July 1 - CBS46 News

New law affecting accused DUI offenders starts July 1

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AAA estimates more than 37 million Americans will drive to their destinations this Fourth of July. A holiday that can prove deadly on the roads when alcohol is involved.

"He was unfortunately in a vehicle driven by an underage woman who was drinking," Colleen Sheehey-Church said.

Sheehey-Church's 18 year old son was killed in a DUI crash. She now serves as President of Mothers Against Drunk Driving spreading awareness.

"Your life changes forever," Sheehey-Church said. "People say you'll get over it. You don't get over it. You move forward, you find a new normal but you don't get over it."

According to Georgia Department of Transportation 12 people died in crashes last year between July 3rd and 5th on Georgia roads. In 2014 there were 11 and in 2015 there were 10.

Overall road fatalities in Georgia look like this. In 2015 there 1,432.  In 2016 that number rose to more than 1500. So far this year there have been 690.

"We are actually six percent behind last year lower than last year," Director of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety Harris Blackwood said. "This weekend will be a deciding factor whether we move ahead of last year or maintain about the same."

The Governor's Office of Highway Safety and MADD praise Georgia's new Ignition Interlock System law that goes into affect July 1st. The new law says anyone accused of a DUI can waive a hearing and apply to have an ignition interlock system installed on their car.  A driver has to blow into the machine and pass a breath test to be able to start their car.

It's optional for now but MADD says it wants more.

"We will be back next year to tighten it up," Sheehey-Church said. "It's not what we would have wanted but it's the best thing we've got going."

Georgia joins 48 other states and the District of Columbia that have laws regarding the ignition interlocks systems for first time offenders.

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