A California state legislator has introduced a measure calling for the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device if convicted of drunk driving. Assembly member Mike Feuer says that Assembly Bill 91 will create a four county pilot program that requires the ignition interlock for all individuals, even first time offenders, found guilty of driving under the influence in California.
The device requires the motorist to breath into a tube and the breath sample is testing for blood alcohol content. If alcohol above a preset limit is detected, the device disables the vehicle ignition. Currently the requirement for the installation of an ignition interlock device is at the discretion of the court, which takes a number of factors into consideration before making its decision, including as the results of an alcohol abuse evaluation and any prior DUI convictions. California DUI law provides for restricted licenses in certain situations though Feuer cites that motorists can still drink and drive. The proposed bill would call for the replacement of the restricted license with the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock.
There will be no taxpayer funds involved with the new legislation. Those convicted of California DUI will be required to pay for the installation and the monthly fee for maintenance of the ignition interlock. The pilot program would begin in July 1, 2010 and run until January 1, 2015.
Similar legislation has been passed into law in five states, including Illinois, New Mexico and, most recently, Alaska. Initial reports indicate that repeat offenses for driving while intoxicated are down in those states.
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