Drunk drivers get locked out new alcohol interlock law in California

LifeSafer-Ignition-Interlock-FC100-Hand.gifIgnition interlock manufacturers  praised California Governor Brown, for signing into law legislation (SB 1046) that establishes a statewide ignition interlock device (IID) program to prevent drunk drivers from re-offending.

The new law extends the current IID pilot program in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare counties for two more years, and then enhances and expands the program statewide beginning January 1, 2019.

The Coalition of Ignition Interlock Manufacturers (CIIM) lauded the Governor for approving the measure that will protect the public by encouraging DUI offenders to participate in a supervised IID program immediately after their driver’s license is suspended that gives them unrestricted driving privileges.

“This new law is a positive step forward to help slow the revolving door of unlicensed, uninsured drunk drivers who continue driving at the public’s peril,” said David Kelly, Executive Director of CIIM.

Each day, an estimated 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on suspended licenses. Each year in California alone, drunk driving crashes kill nearly 1,000 people and seriously injure 20,000 more each year in California.

A report issued by MADD this year found that ignition interlock devices have stopped more than 1 million drinking-and-driving attempts since 2010 in the four counties participating in California’s current pilot program.

“Imagine how many more drunk drivers will be kept off California’s roadways, and how many deaths and injuries will be prevented when this law goes into effect in 2019,” Kelly said.

A California Department of Motor Vehicles report issued in June 2016 found that IIDs are 70 percent more effective than license suspension in preventing repeat DUI offenses.

“The unanimous approval of this law is a clear sign of the growing recognition that this proven-effective technology is the safest, most effective way to stop a drunk driver from becoming a repeat offender,” Kelly said. “It is also a testament to the superb leadership of the bill sponsor, Senator Jerry Hill, and the relentless efforts of MADD, especially Mary and Tom Klotzbach.”

Twenty-eight other states and the District of Columbia require ignition interlocks for all DUI offenders. Recent studies have found that:

DUI deaths decreased by 15 percent in states that enacted all-offender interlock laws (University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine).

Ignition interlock devices are effective in reducing recidivism among DWI offenders, sometimes by as much as 62 to 75 percent. (National Transportation Safety Board)
The re-arrest rates for alcohol-impaired driving decreased by a median of 67 percent relative to comparison groups. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Injury Prevention)