In California, DUI fatalities had been falling, and they hit 774 back in 2011. That was the lowest since the stats started being recorded, and it was looked at as something of a milestone in the state’s history.
Since then, however, the number of deadly accidents involving those with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more has gone back up. There was a total of about 882 in 2015, meaning that DUI accident deaths accounted for 28.7 percent of the total amount of deaths on the state’s roads.
Because of this increase, one senator recently put a new bill in the works. Senate Bill 1046 would make it so that all Californians who were convicted on DUI charges would have no choice but to use an ignition interlock system on their cars.
An ignition interlock device is used to prevent people from becoming repeat offenders. When it is installed, the car’s ignition is blocked until the person blows into a testing device — similar to the way a person may blow into a breath test after a traffic stop. If the device does not detect alcohol, the car can start. If it does, the ignition remains locked and the person can’t drive.
This would be a huge change to California law, which is why it’s so important to keep an eye on the bill. Right now, this idea is being tested with a pilot program. If this bill is passed into law, the pilot program would then cover the whole state, rather than just 13 million residents. It would drastically change the ramifications of a first DUI, making the device mandatory for six months.
Source: Yahoo, “California Drunk Driving Fatalities on Rise after Decline,” Aug. 17, 2016