Alabama became the latest state to enact DUI legislation that included the use of ignition interlock devices, also known as IID’s, in 2011. First time offenders with a blood alcohol level (BAC) 0.15 or higher are required to have an IID installed on their vehicle. An IID is a device that is connected to the vehicle’s ignition system and requires a driver to submit a breath sample by blowing into the IID. The IID then measures the breath sample and if there is too much alcohol in the sample, the IID will not allow the car to start.
Federal officials are now wanting stricter DUI enforcement legislation from all states. Some states already have laws that require all first-time DUI offenders to install IID’s no matter how high their blood alcohol content. Federal research has shown that drunk drivers with a prior DUI conviction were four times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash.
One organization pushing for stronger laws is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which has the funds to help enforce the issue. One group that is backing NHTSA’s push for reform is Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). According to NHTSA statistics, in 2010 more than 10,000 people died in drunk driving crashes. National efforts to fight drunk driving has helped reduce drunk driving fatalities by 35 percent since 1991.
In Alabama, the consequences for DUI depend upon a number of factors. If you are a first-time offender, you can be sentenced up to one year in jail, receive a fine between $600 to $2,100, a mandatory 90-day suspension of driving privileges, and an IID requirement when your BAC is 0.15 or higher. If you happen to be a second-time offender, you too can be sentenced up to one year in jail, receive a fine of $1,100 to $5,100, suspension of driving privileges for one year, and the requirement of an IID. If a driver has a third DUI within five years of his previous conviction, he can be sentenced to one year in jail, fined $2,100 to $10,100, suspension of driving privileges for three years and an IID requirement. When convicted of a fourth DUI within five years, which is considered a Class C felony, you can serve up to ten years in jail, be fined $4,100 to $10,100, and have your driving privileges suspended for a period of five years.
These penalties may seem strict, but drunk driving is a serious problem in this country, and until all drivers become responsible and not drink and drive, advocates will push for stricter DUI laws and penalties.