Mother reflects on son's death as AL Senate passes drunk driving bill

Mother reflects on son's death as AL Senate passes drunk driving bill
Updated: Feb. 10, 2018 at 4:58 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Alabama Senate has passed a potentially lifesaving drunk driving bill. The bill will require ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers.

An ignition interlock is a device installed in your vehicle, think of it as a breathalyzer for your car. You have to blow into the device before starting the car, but if you've been drinking, the car won't start.

"May 17 of 2008, my son Renota Tyus was in a drunk driving crash," said Carolyn Tyus.

She remembers the day like it was yesterday.

"My son was 21 years old. He was a college student, like I said, he had two children," said Tyus.

After her son's accident, Tyus got involved with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD.

"I get to go out and speak and get to go out and tell someone else my story," she said. "I get to go out and meet other victims."

When she heard about the bill requiring first-time drunk driving offenders to use an ignition interlock for three months, she was overwhelmed. So was Pamela Morton, who is also with MADD.

"The safety committee passed it, thank you safety committee. We are so delighted about that and we know that the Senate has passed, so we're just waiting for the full House to pass the bill and we believe that many many lives, countless lives, will be saved as a direct result of this bill being passed," said Morton.

The device is something Tyus wishes was around before her son's accident.

"If the bill had been in effect before or when my son passed away, the man who crashed into my son was a habitual, he had four DUIs, so if that bill had already been in place possibly he would already have had the ignition interlock on his vehicle," Tyus said.

Alabama did pass a law requiring ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders back in 2014, but there were some loopholes in that bill. The new one was created to close those gaps.

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