A new bill is expected to be offered in Washington that will potentially rework federal transportation programs to offer millions of dollars in funding to deserving states for incentives to help to reduce the risks of drunk driving car accidents in Alabama and elsewhere. The goal is to help lawmakers enact tougher penalties for those convicted of a first-time drunk driving offense, according to The Hill. Not everyone’s on board though, saying that these kinds of programs require millions and millions of dollars to be successful. It’s takes community effort and seemingly endless funds for these types of programs.
What we’re talking about is Title V. This bill could potentially free up about $500 million every year for highway safety grants in deserving states. About 5 percent, or about $25 million, of that funding would be handed over to states that already require ignition interlock devices for first-time drunk driving offenders.
Drunk drivers scare us, too! Our Alabama drunk driving accident attorneys understand that every year, drunk drivers take the lives of thousands of innocent motorists across the U.S. What’s most sad about it is that these accidents are preventable. These victims didn’t have to die.
How an ignition interlock device works it that it requires a driver to take part in a breath test so that the device can measure their blood alcohol content (BAC). In the state of Alabama, the legal BAC level is 0.08. The vehicle will not start if the device tests a certain BAC level. Currently, there are 15 states with ignition interlock laws affecting first-time offenders who tested with a 0.15 BAC or higher. These states would be eligible for the federal funds as well.
The American Beverage Institute (ABI) has voiced strong opinions against the bill. The Institute recently argued that the bill’s incentives would not be able to cover the costs of implementing a new set of rules to require the installation of ignition interlock devices in the cars of all first-time DUI offenders.
Some say the federal money that’s given to states to adopt this kind of drunk driving law won’t cover the millions it would cost to push this type of enforcement and monitoring enforcement statewide. These kinds of law take a lot to enforce. It’s not so much throwing officers on the roadways to monitor drunk drivers, but it’s raising awareness about the new procedures, costs associated with installing the monitors and costs to keep tabs on these driver.
ABI says the devices should really only be used in the cases of repeat offenders and first-time drunk driving offenders with high BAC levels. Officials suggest that first-time offenders who reported a BAC of 0.15 or higher will be subjected to these ignition interlock devices.
Under the bill and the reworking of the current law, states would be able to revoke an offender’s driver’s license for a year or a driver would have to use an ignition interlock with a restricted license.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) is expected to introduce the bill.