Interlock can be an important safety tool

Published 6:38pm Friday, April 4, 2014

Alabama’s new all-offender ignition interlock legislation may be one of the best laws for our area.

Before I interviewed Selma Chief of Police William Riley, I had not even considered how people would not see it as a purely beneficial law. He let me know that some think it is too harsh to require ignition interlocks for first time offenders with an illegal blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher who seek to drive during a license suspension as well as convicted drunk drivers.

Ignition interlock is a device wired into an ignition system of a vehicle.Drivers have to blow into the device to start the vehicle. If the device detects a BAC above than the legal limit, the car will not start.

A previous state bill did require the device, but stated that it only applied to those convicted of drunk driving.

According to MADD, 10,322 people were killed and approximately 345,000 were injured in 2012.

The deaths just don’t affect those directly involved. It also affects the families of both the victims and the drivers.

Riley, who supports the new law, said that those against it feel as if they shouldn’t have to have the device installed in their vehicle, because they have not been convicted. I don’t see how that makes any difference.

If you do not plan on drinking under the influence, then why would you be against the device being installed in your vehicle?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ignition interlocks, on average, reduce drunken driving recidivism by 67 percent compared to license suspension alone.

This law does not go against the concept that people are innocent until proven guilty. It simply ensures offenders and the general public are less likely to be the victims of drunk driving.

Riley said it best Wednesday.

“They want to make sure that with this law we are not going to take the chance of anyone now drinking and driving before they are finally jubilated in court,” Riley said.

After seeing the numerous driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license charges, I am happy that we now have this law in place to protect the people.

Not only could this save lives, but also it could save money and reduce our crowded jails.

It may not eliminate every drunk driving incident, but it most definitely a step in the right direction.

I remember recall the time Montgomery resident Monica Jordan told me about the numb feeling that overcame her body the moment she realized her 24-year-old son was killed by a drunk driver.

I pray to God this law will prevent yet another family member from going through that traumatic experience.



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