Do you drink and drive? Well you shouldn’t and if you get caught life will be a little more difficult in Sacramento County. If you are convicted of DUI you will be required to install and use a breathalyzer in your car for five months. This new law was signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this week and goes into effect July 1, 2010. Seventeen states already have similar laws, and some have shown notable drops in repeat drunken driving offenses.
The ignition interlock device will keep the car from starting if the driver’s breath shows more than a small amount of alcohol in the blood. This is actually a pilot program and will last six years. Other counties that are piloting the program include Alameda, Los Angeles and Tulare counties.
“We must do everything we can to ensure the public’s safety on the road,” Schwarzenegger said after signing the bill. “By installing ignition interlock devices we are making it harder for DUI offenders to get behind the wheel while intoxicated and we are working to save innocent lives.” While the self serving American Beverage Institute called the locks intrusive, most people agree with the new law. There are about 4,000 DUI convictions each year in Sacramento County.
Under the law, drivers convicted of a first offense will be notified by the state Department of Motor Vehicles that they must pay to have a device installed in any vehicle they drive, other than a motorcycle. For second-time DUI offenders, the monitoring period will extend to a year. A third conviction will require the device be installed for two years. Initial installation costs $75 to $100 and monthly monitoring costs are about $50.
For those that want to get around the lock let your friends know that it is illegal for another person to blow into the device for the offender. The devices also require drivers to retake the breath test at random times, she said.
In 2008, 30 percent of roadway deaths in California , more than 1,000 deaths, occurred in crashes where at least one driver had a blood- alcohol level over the legal presumptive limit of 0.08 percent, according to the state Office of Traffic Safety.