Alabama passes all-offender ignition interlock legislation - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Alabama passes all-offender ignition interlock legislation

(Source: MGN) (Source: MGN)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

The state of Alabama has joined 20 other states in enacting a new law, which will help cut down on drunk driving.

Alabama Representative Allen Farley and Senator Bill Holtzclaw authorized HB 381/SB 319 which will require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, including first time offenders, with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater. Alabama is the 21st state to enact an all offender law.

An ignition interlock is a device that is wired to the ignition of a vehicle. A convicted drunk drivers must blow into the device to start the vehicle. If the operators has a measurable amount of alcohol in their system, the vehicle will not start.

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers applauded Rep. Farley and Senator Holtzclaw for their leadership in passing the new law.  The ignition interlock was MADD's number one legislative priority.

"Today is an important day for Alabama. We are one step closer to ending the toll of drunk drivers on Alabama's roads," said MADD National President Jan Withers. "MADD is grateful to Representative Farley and Senator Holtzclaw for their leadership in authoring legislation improving Alabama's drunk driving law and we thank the entire legislature for passing this important reform."

Since 2011, Alabama has required ignition interlocks for all repeat and first-time convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or greater. It now requires any first-time convicted drunk driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 to .14 to drive a motor vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock for six months.

"As legislators, a lot of bills come across our desks, but rarely is there an opportunity to sponsor legislation that is all but guaranteed to save lives," said Senator Bill Holtzclaw. "I am glad to partner with MADD and I thank them for taking such a proactive role with the use of ignition interlocks. Tragically, a five year old boy was killed in my district a few years back because of a drunk driver, and I will not stop fighting to stop this preventable crime."

"As a former Assistant Sheriff and volunteer in a substance abuse recovery program, I know the irrevocable damage alcohol abuse can do to families, especially those whose loved ones are killed by drunk drivers," said Representative Allen Farley. "This is a preventable crime, and I feel that ignition interlocks are a proven way to save lives and heal harmful habits.  I want to thank MADD for the honor of this award, but I also thank my colleagues for keeping this important issue at the forefront of the legislative agenda."

"I am proud of our accomplishment this legislative session," Withers said. "Expanding the use of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers is an effective DUI countermeasure and key to saving lives on the Alabama's roads."

For more information on interlocks, visit www.madd.org/interlock.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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