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MADD president in Sacramento: 'We need to get ignition interlocks in this state'

Helen Witty has been on a mission ever since a drunk driver hit and killed her 16-year-old daughter Helen Marie.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — ABC10 caught up with the national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Helen Witty. 

Witty has been on a mission ever since a drunk driver hit and killed her 16-year-old daughter Helen Marie, while she was out rollerblading in the neighborhood.

"And she went to the end of the driveway, flipped around, blew me a kiss and said, 'I'll be right back.' And I never saw her again," Witty said. "Our life changed. My daughter's life ended. And I landed shattered in MADD's lap."

READ ALSO: MADD to team up with area law enforcement for 'Saturation Saturday' operation

For the last two decades, Witty has made it her mission to tackle drunk driving. She came to Sacramento because she says California is the second deadliest state in the nation for drunk driving crashes.

"Our message is we need to get ignition interlocks in this state," Witty said. "I speak to people all the time, and their loved ones have been killed by a person on a suspended license. We know that is not effective."

READ ALSO: 'That’s why we do what we do' | MADD raise awareness at Midtown sobriety checkpoint

Senate Bill 545 is still working its way through the committee process. The bill would ensure all DUI offenders, including first-timers, be required to install interlock or breathing devices in their cars to prevent them from driving drunk. The current law doesn't apply for first-time offenders.

"They can go to work," Witty said. "They can get their children to school as long as they provide a sober breath sample."

MADD is hosting the annual Walk Like Madd event in just two weeks on October 12 at Maidu Park in Roseville to help fund their work.

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