Traffic safety experts estimate that around 7,000 individuals are killed each year across the nation, including here in Alabama, because of drunk driving accidents. Many of these victims are completely innocent, guilty only of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Drunk driving is a negligent action that results in serious criminal consequences, but unfortunately, that risk is not enough to stop some.
The criminal consequences can mean little to a family of a victim killed by a drunk driver. Sure the individual may be in jail, but for how long? The family will forever be without their loved one. Families can pursue financial remuneration as an additional form of justice, but again, that will not bring back the victim.
Because of the high rate of victims killed by drunk drivers, a federal traffic safety panel has advised that all states enact laws that make it a mandatory penalty for all convicted drunk drivers, even on the first-offense, to install an ignition interlock device that would prevent the individual from driving when they have a blood-alcohol concentration higher than between .02 percent and .04 percent.
There are currently 17 states that already mandate this, but the panel is advising that the remaining 33, which includes Alabama, crack down on drunk drivers. Passage of this law across the board would aim to prohibit repeat offenders, and hopefully save more lives across the roads in our state and our country. The fact that 40 percent of all traffic-related fatalities are alcohol-related should be a strong indication that changes need to be made.
Source: Associated Press, "NTSB: Use ignition locks for all drunken drivers," Dec. 12, 2012