A new law that is designed to make it easier for judges to require DUI offenders to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles, officially went into effect for the State of Alabama on July 1st. The changes will now allow judges to force first time convicted DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device for at least six months if their blood alcohol content is higher than .08 percent. The installation of this device will allow a driver to avoid having their driver’s license suspended. In April, Alabama became the 21st state to pass this version of the law
Senator Bill Holtzclaw and Representative Allen Farley have been applauded for their leadership in authoring this piece of legislation, HB 381/SB 319.
Alabama was the final state to enact an ignition interlock law in 2011. The previous legislation was set-up to require ignition interlocks for all repeat and first-time convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or higher. However, the law was never implemented. The following year, over 250 people were killed in drunk-driving related traffic crashes that could have potentially been prevented had convicted drivers been using interlocks.
Ignition interlock laws have become a top priority of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The organization has reported that states with all-offender ignition interlock laws have reduced drunk driving deaths by 20% or more. Oregon(42%) and Arizona(43%) have seen the nation’s highest reduction ins drunk driving fatalities.