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CA Bill: Ignition Interlocks Installed For First Time DUI Offenders

Monday  State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, will introduce a bill to mandate that anyone convicted of driving under the influence will be forced to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

The device will require the driver to blow into a tube that will register the blood alcohol allowing the driver to either drive the car or leave it at rest.

According to the senator, individuals convicted of DUI have a history of driving drunk. Therefore, in Hill’s estimation the device should be installed after the first offense and you risk catastrophe to wait for a second offense.

In California, SFGate reports, 1,000 people are killed each year by drivers under the influence. Yet, losing one of his best friends by a drunk driver was the main motivator for Hill to sponsor the bill. Hill also points to one individual that he read about who had nine DUI and still had a drivers license as a catalyst to pushing forward the bill.

“I felt the pain that families who lose loved ones to drunk drivers felt, and no one should have to go through that,” Hill said. “The statistics show that if you are caught once, you have probably been drunk driving 80 times before that … that’s what prompted me to write this legislation, besides the memories of my friend.”

Frank Harris, director of state government affairs for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, is a proponent for technology in cases of DUI. Strict bans prohibiting DUI offenders from driving entirely is unrealistic because offenders still have to get to work. Often times the offender will just go ahead and drive the vehicle anyway. “Research shows this is way more effective than just hoping for the best,” he insists.

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