Will Ignition Interlock Devices Become Mandatory in California?

Will ignition interlock devices become a mandatory part of every DUI conviction? That is the proposed new law outlined in California Senate Bill 1046—which is currently moving through the state legislature. The bill has received aggressive support from activists, including Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD).

As Bakersfield Now reports, the organization is trying to raise awareness for the bill and help compel lawmakers to make it part of the state's DUI statutes. As current law stands, only repeat offenders and DUI convictions that involve aggravating circumstances (such as injury, minors, or death) are forced to have the devices installed in their car. IIDs are connected to the start-up function in motor vehicles. Convicted drunk drivers must blow into a breathalyzer and prove they are not impaired in order to start their vehicle.

The zero-tolerance program has already been implemented in four California counties to test the policy: Tulare, Los Angeles, Alameda, and Sacramento. "Over 1 million times just in those four county pilots that somebody who is already a convicted DUI offender has tried to blow into the ignition airlock and has physically stopped them from drinking and driving because they have some sort of impairment," MADD California Program Manager Aaron Wade told the press. It is estimated that one-third of all drunk driving-related deaths are caused by repeat offenders.

"If Texas Can... There's No Reason Why California Can't"

According to MADD and the bill supporters, there is strong evidence that IIDs are effective in keeping drunk drivers off the road. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend IIDs for first-time offenders. At least 25 others states, Texas included, have enacted similar legislation mandating ignition interlock devices for all drunk driving convictions.

That evidence, however, does not convince everyone. "There's really absolutely no evidence to support that initial, first offense DUI offenders that might be a .08 close to the legal limits, .10, that an IID is going to be effective in deterring them," on local DUI attorney told ABC 30. There are other concerns about the costs of installing and maintaining the devices. "Most of the people in my class, it was cost prohibitive for them to have it, so they just drove without it," a 42-year-old Tulare County man told ABC 30. "I don't think it was keeping anybody off the road."

California Senate Bill 1046 is still under consideration by state lawmakers in the current legislature session. If passed, it will have to be signed by the governor before it becomes law.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for drunk driving, then we invite you to contact us at Hutton & Wilson today. Our skilled and effective Los Angeles DUI defense attorneys have more than 65 years of combined experience in this practice area. When have handled more than 700 DUI trials and know what it takes to secure every consideration our clients deserve before the law.

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