Drunk Driving Bill to Close Loophole Nears Final Vote

A bill in its final stages could close a loophole in the law to reduce drunk-driving deaths.

The bill introduced by Sen. Jim McClendon would require drunk drivers to use an ignition interlock device after their first offense. Ignition interlocks analyze drivers’ breath and prevent cars from being started if alcohol is detected.

Alabama passed an ignition interlock bill in 2014 but didn’t require it for offenders who enter pre-trial diversion. Mississippi’s law requires the device on the first offense. The state stopped more than double the amount of drunk drivers than Alabama in 2016.

Under Alabama’s new law, judges could order interlock ignition as a condition for bail but still allow offenders to drive. McClendon said making the device mandatory would push offenders to think twice about driving drunk.

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