Local lawmakers honored by MADD

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MONTGOMERY — Mothers Against Drunk Driving has named three Alabama lawmakers as “2017 Legislators of the Year” for their tireless work to help eliminate the 100 percent preventable crime of drunk driving.

MADD named Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville) and Sen. Paul Bussman (R-Cullman) for SB 391 and Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Birmingham) for HB 565.

Both of these bills would require the use of ignition interlocks for diversion agreements for first-time convicted drunk drivers for a period of six months or the duration of the diversion program. While the legislation did not pass in 2017, both bills have already been filed for 2018.

“MADD thanks Senator Jim McClendon, Senator Paul Bussman and Representative Arnold Mooney for recognizing that public safety must come first when a diversion program is offered to a drunk driving offender. Requiring an ignition interlock is the safest way to allow the offender to get his or her life back on track while preventing attempts to drink and drive again,” said Pamela A. Morton, state victim services specialist for MADD Alabama.

McClendon’s and Mooney’s districts include parts of Shelby County.

In all, MADD recognized 42 lawmakers for their commitment to saving lives. For the full list, visit madd.org.

Many of the Legislators of the Year have played a major role in MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, which was launched in 2006. A key component of the campaign calls for the passage of all-offender interlock laws, which require the use of an ignition interlock for any convicted drunk driver who seeks driving privileges during a license suspension period.

Prior to the campaign, only one state — New Mexico — had an all-offender interlock law. Today, 30 states and Washington D.C. have enacted all-offender interlock laws.

Other components of MADD’s campaign include supporting high-visibility law enforcement, such as sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols, advocating for development of the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, which is an advanced vehicle technology to passively detect alcohol on a driver’s breath, and supporting deployment of fully autonomous vehicles.

Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking.

MADD has helped to save more than 350,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver.

MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP.

Visit MADD.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD for more information.