Wednesday, October 14, 2009

CA Passes 2 Laws on Ignition Interlock Device

Motor vehicle crashes involving drunk drivers had claimed a total of 11,773 lives last 2008. Many of these drunk drivers are repeat offenders or have been previously convicted of drunk driving.

Convicted drunken drivers, around 50 to 75 percent of them still continue to drink and drive despite having their licenses suspended. They make up for 1/3 of the drunk driving problem in the US.

Recently, the State of California, through Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, has signed two new laws which strike directly at the issue of curbing drunk driving: ignition interlock device.

The first law, Assembly Bill 91, creates a pilot project where the installation of ignition interlock devices is required for individuals convicted of DUI in the counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, Tulare and Sacramento.

The second law, which was authored by Sen. Bob Huff, allows repeat DUI offenders to apply for restricted licenses if they install such devices.

Ignition interlock devices can prevent inebriated persons from driving their cars – the driver would have to driver would have to blow into it in order before the ignition starts. The car will not start if the driver has a blood alcohol level over the legal limit.

Studies have shown that ignition interlocks can decrease repeat offenses by 64%.
California is now one of the 12 states with ignition interlock programs such as Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah and Washington.

This is great news for a lot of Los Angeles residents, drunk drivers cannot be road hazards if they can’t get their cars to start in the first place.