Two new California laws will require some drivers with DUI convictions to blow before they go.
The bills, signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sunday, both require the installation on an in-car breathalyzer for some DUI offenders. The driver must use it before starting the car -- and if the driver's drunk, the car won't start.
The first bill, authored by Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), creates a pilot program in four counties that requires the device installed in every car owned or operated by a first-time DUI offender. This pilot program will run from July 1, 2010, to January 1, 2016, in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare counties.
The second bill, authored by State Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), will allow repeat DUI offenders to apply for a restricted driver’s license if they install the device in their vehicles. It will take effect July 1, 2010.
"I took action and signed these bills because we must do everything we can to ensure the public's safety on the road," said Schwarzenegger. "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."
In 2005, New Mexico was the first state to require the interlock for every offender. A July 2009 LA Times article noted that New Mexico once led the nation in alcohol-related crash deaths. After the ignition-interlock requirement and other measures, the state now ranks 25th in alcohol-related crash fatalities.
Eleven states followed New Mexico's lead.
Offenders are required to pay costs associated with the devices.