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Delanie Walker, MADD Celebrate Law Aimed to Prevent Drunk Driving


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Delanie Walker believes the best way to honor the lives of his late aunt and uncle is to help save others from a similar tragic fate.

The Titans tight end thinks a bill signed into law Tuesday by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will be a great preventative measure to keep motorists who have been convicted of a DUI from subsequently operating their cars if they have consumed alcohol.

House Bill 353 and Senate Bill 670 expand the use of ignition interlock devices to first-time DUI offenders at .08 or higher blood alcohol content. The law will go into effect July 1, making Tennessee the 18th state to pass a law of this nature.

Walker appeared at a news conference at Legislative Plaza with Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport, and Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, who sponsored the legislation, as well as officials from Mothers Against Drunk Driving that included MADD President Jan Withers and MADD Tennessee Advisory Board Chair Millie Webb and MADD Tennessee Public Policy Chair Norris Skelley.

Walker shared his story of what was supposed to be one of the happiest days of his life and how it turned into the worst.

After watching their nephew play in Super Bowl XLVII, Alice and Bryan Young were stopped on the side of the road between New Orleans and where they were staying in Baton Rouge, La. Their car was struck from behind by a suspected drunk driver. Both cars burst into flames, and Walker's aunt and uncle died hours after the game.

"I'm going to honor my auntie and uncle, and this is, I feel like honoring them by doing something that helps somebody else prevent people from drinking and driving and make them think twice before drinking and driving and hurting someone else," Walker said before the news conference. "I think this is something big and honoring them. That's why I'm part of it and happy to be part of it."

The legislators said the measure was needed because some convicted drunk drivers have continued to drive even though their license has been suspended and continued to drink and drive. MADD says statistics show that states with similar legislation have reduced DUI fatalities by 30 percent.

Withers said the law fits with the roadmap that MADD has drawn to eliminate drunk driving, and Webb said the notoriety that Walker has as an NFL player will bring more attention to the cause.

Walker, who signed with the Titans in March, worked on events with MADD in California and was glad to join the efforts in Tennessee.

"I think they were already pushing that way because the drinking and driving out here is very high, and just me going out there, writing them a letter to get that law passed. A lot of other people spoke and wrote and talked about it, so I think it was something they were already going to do, and me being part of it just helped out a little more."

Walker said he has so many memories of his aunt and uncle that he will keep supporting the campaign to prevent drunk driving.

"All of them were experiences that you'll never forget," Walker said. "They came to a lot of my games, away games, home games, and even when I went to their house and we ate. I grew up with their kids and spent the night at their house when I was a kid, there's so many of them."

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