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California Governor Brown praised for signing ignition interlock bill

Announced yesterday, California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. signed into existing law legislation (SB 1046), a change that extends current legislation around the use of ignition interlock devices like Intoxalock to prevent drunk driving. Senate Bill 1046 is the result of a four-year effort by the Governor and Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, to expand a statewide IID policy in place in California.

Under current law, DUI offenders get their license suspended as a mandatory suspension before they can apply for a restricted license. 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 changes brought by SB 1046 will allow full driving privileges with the use of an IID. The penalty starts at 6 months of IID use for first time offenders, one year for the second and two plus years for subsequent offenses.

An ignition interlock device or IID is a breathalyzer that is installed in vehicles to prevent drinking and driving. It is made up of a mouthpiece, a handheld unit and a cord that attaches to the vehicle’s ignition system. Users are required to blow into the mouthpiece to test their Breath Alcohol Concentration (BrAC) before starting their car. If their BrAC is above your state’s limit, the vehicle will not start until the user submits a breath sample that no longer detects alcohol.

The Coalition of Ignition Interlock Manufacturers (CIIM) advocated for approving the bill on behalf of public safety and DUI offenders in order to stop drunk driving. In fact, 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.

“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.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) issued a report this year that found that IID providers like Intoxalock have prevented more than 1 million drinking-and-driving attempts since 2010 in the four counties participating in California’s current pilot program.

California residents and advocates alike are pleased with the legislative decision as a positive step forward toward keeping the roads safer.

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