Montgomery, Alabama - Today, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) calls on Alabama lawmakers to advance lifesaving legislation HB477 by Rep. Allen Farley and SB401 by Senator Bill Holtzclaw to streamline implementation of the ignition interlock program in Alabama and also voluntarily expand the use of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.
"MADD urges the legislative leadership of Alabama to bring lifesaving legislation to a floor vote in the House and Senate," said MADD National President Jan Withers. "Legislation of this type in other states has a proven track record to save lives, prevent injuries and stop repeat DUI offenses. Ignition interlocks are the most effective approach to stop DUI compared to license revocation alone."
Due to a 2011 Alabama law, interlocks are required for refusals, all repeat offenders. Passage of HB 477 and SB 401 will effectively implement the use of interlocks for these offenders in the state. Additionally, under this legislation, a first time convicted drunk driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 to .14 is incentivized to use an ignition interlock. The offender can choose a 90-day license suspension period with no driving privileges or an immediate six-month period of driving privileges provided an ignition interlock is installed on his/her vehicle.
There are currently 17 states that have similar all offender ignition interlock laws in place. For example, in Oregon, Louisiana and Arizona, where similar laws are in place, drunk driving deaths have been reduced by 35, 40, 46 percent respectively.
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.
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.
For more information on interlocks, please visit http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/ignition-interlocks/. For a letter sent to lawmakers by MADD last week, please visit: http://madd.convio.net/site/MessageViewer?em_id=51170.0&dlv_id=0
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 eight 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.