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New Bill Takes Aim at Drunk Driving Offenders

Aug 08 2016, by Jessica McElfresh in Alcohol, Criminal Defense, DUI, Legal Blog

In the past 30 years, 50,000 people have died and over 1 million have been injured in California as the result of drunk drivers. In an effort to curb drunk driving, the California Senate unanimously passed SB 1046, which would require anyone convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in his or her vehicle. The bill is now being considered in the Assembly.

An IID prevents a vehicle from starting unless the driver is able to pass a breathalyzer test, which is typically connected to the dashboard of the vehicle. Once the vehicle is started, the device will periodically require additional breath samples to ensure that blood alcohol remains below the legal limit. Proponents of IIDs have argued that they are a more effective means of preventing drunk driving than driver license suspensions.

What SB 1046 Means if You’re Charged with a DUI Offense

SB 1046 comes at the urging of many anti-drunk driving campaigns and is at least partially in response to the death of a 25-year old Coachella women who was killed by a drunk driver in 2013. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), which strongly advocates for the legislation, IIDs have prevented more than 1 million attempts to drink and drive in California between 2010 and 2015.

Under an existing state law, IIDs are only required for convicted drunk drivers in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare counties. This is part of a pilot program, which began in 2010. If passed and implemented, SB 1046 would require:

Senate Bill 1046 has faced criticism from those who say the bill is overly broad, too costly to monitor, and likely to be ineffective. Critics of the California bill point to the California’s Department of Motor Vehicles conclusion that the existing pilot program did not reduce drunken driving in general and that there was no indication it decreased the number of first-time or repeat offenders.

The expansion of the IID requirement to all drunk driving offenders under SB 1046 would require a significant amount of resources to monitor and enforce compliance. According to research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, less than 30 percent of drunk driving offenders who are required by law to install IID actually do so. For that reason, many have argued that California should focus on repeat offenders and hard-core drinkers given that roughly 70 percent of alcohol-related traffic deaths are caused by drivers with blood-alcohol levels of .15 BAC or higher.

How a San Diego DUI Lawyer Can Help

At McElfresh Law, we offer experienced and skilled legal representation for all our clients charged with a DUI offense. We will fight to help you obtain the best possible outcome for your case with the goal of getting you back to living your life as quickly as possible. Let us put our knowledge and experience to work for you.

Call our San Diego Defense DUI lawyers today at (858) 756-7107 and let us discuss how we can represent you.