CA First Time DUI Offenders Get Interlock Devices

By Kamika Dunlap on June 18, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

California is set to begin a pilot program which requires drivers with DUI convictions, even first time offenders, to use new interlock devices.

The experimental program will begin on July 1 and convicted drunken drivers will have to test their breath for alcohol with an interlock device before they can start their vehicles, the Contra Costa Times reports.

The ignition locking device is installed on the dashboard and requires drivers to breath into a tube to start their vehicles and at random times. The device prevents the car engines from starting if alcohol is detected.

Last fall, the bill was signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The law goes into effect July 1 in several California counties including in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare counties.

So far, about 14 states have enacted similar laws for first time offenders.

As previously discussed, the New York state assembly recently passed Leandra's Law, which pushes for some of the nation's toughest penalties for drunk driving, including making it a felony to drive intoxicated with children as passengers and forcing first time DWI offenders to have the ignition interlock devices installed.

Pennsylvania has also introduced new legislation aimed at cracking down on DUI first time offenders by requiring them to have ignition interlock devices on their vehicles, as previously discussed. The state's ignition interlock devices would also have a "rolling check" system which would make the driver periodically blow into the system in order to keep the vehicle on.

There are 46 states that have laws permitting interlock devices for impaired drivers. However, the law is only mandatory for first time offenders in six states including New York, New Mexico, Arizona, Illinois, Louisiana, New England and Washington.


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