Stricter drunk driving laws considered in Alabama

Drunk driving accidents can leave people severely injured, and it all could have been prevented. It's just one of the many situations that can happen when it comes to car accidents, and the state of Alabama has decided that the laws need to get stronger to combat the alcohol-related accidents. According to the news from Birmingham, the city alone get 141,000 vehicles passing through along the I-20/59 routes, and if you add drunk drivers to the mix, it can be dangerous.

According to the newest data from the Alabama Department of Transportation, in 2011, there were 899 traffic fatalities in Alabama. Of those, 220 involved drivers who had been drinking. Statewide, close to 7,000 incidents of drunk driving or driving under the influence were reported.

In 2011, Alabama created an ignition interlock law that made convicted repeat and first-time offenders with high blood alcohol levels of 0.15 or higher install an interlock or breathing device that would test their BAC before they could drive. Now, only a few years later, Alabama is looking at making the laws even stricter, opting for new legislation that could result in a zero-tolerance policy. The new policy would kick in for anyone with a BAC of 0.08 or higher.

With the new policy, penalties would be severe. Even first time offenders would have suspended licenses; 90 days of suspension is suggested for any first time offender. At present, you can choose between the interlock device and the suspension. One doctor in Alabama has said that medical professionals can lose their licenses over DUIs, and he supports even longer penalties, up to 24 months.

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers has reported that the interlock law used in various states has resulted in drunk driving decreases of up to 67 percent. If Alabama chooses to put the stronger law into place, it will be the 21st state to do so.

Source: CBS 42, "Movement to make DUI laws stricter in Alabama" Natalie Tejeda, Feb. 27, 2014

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