A law effective July 1st requires that all persons in pretrial diversion for DUI cases install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. Proponents like Mothers Against Drunk Driving note that this measure will more effectively prevent persons who have driven drunk from repeating their mistake. The devices require the driver to take a breath test for alcohol levels when starting the car and at random intervals throughout driving (necessitating that the driver pull over, of course). If the device detects alcohol levels above 0.02, the car will stop. It will also keep a record of the tests for use of the authorities, and the device may lock out the user if they fail too many tests or skip too many retests. Alabama law already requires that some first-time and all repeat offenders install these devices; this law requires those who enter diversion programs to install them as well. Advocates for the bill note that this law will allow for closer monitoring of persons in pretrial diversion while also allowing them to continue to use their car and giving first time offenders stronger dissuasion from driving drunk again.
Detractors of the law claim it will prove a deterrent to the pretrial diversion program since it will significantly increase costs for the participant when the previous model already requires frequent drug tests. They also claim that companies involved in ignition interlock may have lobbied Senator McClendon, the sponsor of the bill. The Senator denies such claims. The law's defenders point to the success of similar laws in other states. According to data gathered by MADD, these laws are effective at reducing repeat offenses. Time will tell if these measures will be effective in Alabama.