New Alabama Law Will Require Ignition Interlock Devices for DUI Offenders

A new Alabama law took effect September 1 that will affect people convicted of DUI with a BAC above 0.15%. The ignition interlock device is a machine installed in a vehicle to test the BAC of the driver, and many states have laws that make these devices mandatory after a person has been convicted of a DUI.

Now Alabama will require these devices to be used when a person is convicted of DUI with a BAC of 0.15 or higher, which is nearly double the legal limit of .08%.

Judges are waiting to order the interlock devices until they are given the exact details of how the new law will be administered. Montgomery County District Judge Jimmy Pool said only two companies that install the devices have been approved. As of now, Smart Start is one of the only companies approved by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.

First and second-time offenders would be required to keep the interlock device on their vehicles for two years, a third-time offender would be required to use the device for three years, and a fourth-time offender would need to use the device on their vehicle for five years. The offender would also have restricted driving privileges, and would only be allowed to drive a car that had the interlocking device installed.

The Legislature will decide which offenders will be required to use the devices, and the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences is responsible for the rules and authorization of which companies can sell the devices. The Department of Public Safety oversees the training of people in the program.

Rep. Mike Hill of Columbiana, who sponsored the bill, said state officials are setting all the rules in place before fully implementing the program.