Alabama votes 98-0 to close loophole in drunk driving law

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Stricter regulations will be imposed on drunk drivers after a bill to close a loophole in the law and reduce road deaths passed a final vote in the House Tuesday. The vote was 98-0.

The legislation sponsored by Republican state Sen. Jim McClendon will require drunk drivers to use an ignition interlock device after their first offense. An ignition interlock analyzes a driver’s breath and prevents a car from being started if alcohol is detected.

Alabama passed an ignition interlock bill in 2014 but didn’t require it for offenders who enter pretrial diversion. A similar law in Mississippi requires the device on the first offense. That state stopped more than double the amount of drunk drivers than Alabama in 2016, according to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization.