Supporters of proposal say all convicted DUI drivers should have devices installed
Traffic safety advocates are getting behind proposed legislation that would increase penalties against drunk drivers in California. According to KTVU News, if passed, the bill would require anybody convicted of a DUI to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. The ignition interlock is a breath-test device that requires drivers to blow into it and register a blood-alcohol content level below a preset limit before the car will start. Advocates of the bill say it could lead to dramatic reductions in DUI-related car accidents.
Under current state law, ignition interlock devices are only required for offenders who have more than one DUI conviction, although a pilot program in four counties-Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare-requires the devices to be installed in the cars of first-time offenders as well. That pilot program is due to finish at the end of 2015.
The bill under consideration, Senate Bill 61, would expand the pilot program to the state as a whole. As a result, all first-time DUI offenders, along with repeat offenders, would be required to install the devices. The length of time offenders would have to have the devices installed would depend on how many DUI convictions they have. First-time offenders would be ordered to have the devices installed for six months, while people with more than three convictions may be forced to install them for up to three years.
Devices save lives
While some have criticized the law for being overly harsh on first-time offenders, as the Sacramento Bee points out, studies have shown that people convicted of their first DUI have, on average, driven drunk 80 times before they are finally caught. Figures also show that license suspensions are largely ineffective, with up to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers violating their suspensions by continuing to drive.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also says that ignition interlock devices reduce repeat drunk driving instances by 67 percent. Given that 24 percent of fatal DUI crashes and 63 percent of DUI-related injuries in California are caused by repeat offenders, proponents say the bill has the potential to save lives if passed into law.
Drunk driving accidents
Drunk driving is a serious offense and puts the lives of countless motorists and their families at risk every day. Anybody who has been injured by a drunk or otherwise reckless driver should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An attorney who can offer compassionate and knowledgeable support will be able to fight for his client’s needs and interests, which in some cases may entail pursuing additional compensation when another driver is at fault for an accident.