Montgomery, AL -- Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) would like to thank Representative Farley for his leadership and the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee for advancing HB 381 at hearing Wednesday. This lifesaving legislation expands the use of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers to include first-time convicted drunk drivers with an illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater.
“HB 381 will protect the families in Alabama from drunk drivers. MADD is pleased the bill has advanced through the House Committee, said MADD National President Jan Withers. “MADD calls on House Rules Committee to schedule this lifesaving legislation for a floor vote.”
HB 381 was born out of a 2013 legislative working group and will help to implement this existing interlock law by giving first-time offenders with a BAC of .08 to .14 the option of going on an ignition interlock for six months in lieu of a 90-day license suspension with no driving privileges. Currently there are 20 states that have similar all offender ignition interlock laws in place. For example, in New Mexico, Oregon, and Arizona, where similar laws are in place, drunk driving deaths have been reduced by 38, 42, 43 percent respectively.
Since 2011, ignition interlocks have been required for all repeat and first-time convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or greater. However, the law has not been implemented and drunk driving continues to be a problem in Alabama. Over two hundred and fifty lives were lost due to a drunk driving crash, representing 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2012. Ignition interlocks are the most effective approach to stop DUI compared to license revocation alone. License suspension with no interlock requirement is proven to not be the best approach as 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ignition interlocks, on average, reduce drunk driving recidivism by 67 percent compared to license suspension alone. Ignition interlocks help the convicted drunk driver learn how to drive sober following a drunk driving conviction. Simply taking away an offender’s legal driving privilege, fails to teach sober driving behavior, but it an interlock is proven to teach an offender how to drive sober.
Additionally, studies show that a first-time convicted drunk driver is not a first-time offender, but rather it is simply the first time they have been caught. First-time offenders have driven drunk an average of 80 times before they are convicted.
“Through the efforts of MADD, drunk driving is now socially unacceptable. Unfortunately, it is still tolerated. HB 381 will increase the use of ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers and help prevent repeat offenses, since ignition interlocks are proven to be more effective than license revocation alone,” added Withers.
For more information on interlocks, please visit www.madd.org/interlock.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. With the help of those who want a safer future, MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end this danger on America’s roads. PowerTalk 21® is the national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol, using the proven strategies of Power of Parents® to reduce the risk of underage drinking. And as one of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every 8.6 minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP. Learn more at www.madd.org or by calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.