Gov. Brown signs bill on ignition interlock devices in cars of drunk drivers

Alcohol detection device prevents car from starting if driver is impaired

A bill by state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, was signed into law Wednesday and will soon require certain convicted drunk drivers to install an ignition interlock device in their car.

Starting in 2019, Senate Bill 1046 will require repeat drunk driving offenders and first offenders who caused an injury to install the alcohol detection device in their car to prevent it from starting if the driver is impaired.

The statewide pilot program will also give first-time DUI offenders the choice to install an ignition interlock device instead of having their driving privileges revoked or having a route-restricted license, according to Hill's office.

The new law expands a pilot program currently in place since 2010 in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare counties that requires people convicted of DUI to install the device. That four-county pilot program will remain in place through 2018 before moving to the modified statewide version the following year.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving hailed Gov. Jerry Brown's decision to sign the bill.

"This is going to save lives," MADD national board member Mary Klotzback said.

Klotzback, a Livermore resident, lost her 22-year-old son Matthew in a drunk driving collision in 2001.

Drunk driving deaths are 15 percent lower in states that require all convicted drunk drivers to install breathalyzers compared with states with less stringent requirements, according to a study by Dr. Elinore Kaufmann at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center, and Douglas Wiebe, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

"Interlocks are a life-saving technology that merit wider use," said the study, which was published in May in the American Journal of Public Health.

Twenty-eight states and Washington, D.C., require the devices for all DUI offenders, according to Hill's office.

About 1,000 people die and more than 20,000 are injured each year in California because of drunk drivers, according to Hill's office.

A California Department of Motor Vehicles report published in June found that among first offenders, the devices are 74 percent more effective at preventing a repeat offense than suspending the offender's license. For second offenders, that number is 70 percent.

The California Public Defender's Association opposed the bill, saying it imposed too high a cost to low-income offenders.

An ignition interlock device costs about $60 to $80 a month to calibrate and monitor. The cost for installation is $70 to $150. The new law reduces those costs for low-income offenders, according to Hill's office.

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5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2016 at 6:17 am

"it will save lives"
This is an unacceptable violation of privacy. It is also unacceptable to force costs on others.

Jerry Brown is truly a cancer.

I am appalled by big government.

18 people like this
Posted by Desperate Measures
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2016 at 8:16 am

Desperate Measures is a registered user.

Alcoholism and drunken drivers are a huge problem that requires desperate measures.

Governor Brown is correct in doing this. A person who drives in an inebriated condition is not thinking clearly, and this stops him or her from doing something that may cause harm and destruction to all parties involved.

One need only read the papers to see the death and destruction that drunk driving causes!

17 people like this
Posted by Charles Hickman
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2016 at 9:13 am

It's a very good law. "Privacy" is not the issue - drunk driving is. The cost of the ignition interlock is borne by the offender - isn't that better than forcing the taxpayer to pay?

This isn't "big government" doing anything to the little guy. The law was passed unanimously in both houses, and it's supported by road safety groups because laws like this have worked in other states.

5 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 30, 2016 at 11:04 am

"Resident" - isn't throwing someone in jail also an invasion of privacy? This is a form of punishment and prevention after breaking a law, not a requirement thrust upon all free citizens. It's just a more direct, effective and preventative form of punishment.

2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2016 at 11:13 am

OK but I don't believe in government taking punitive measures. The reason being, its too much of a wide, arbitrary one-size-fits-all punishment. The statistics might show that it works, but it won't show you the impact this has on individuals.

Not everyone who happens to get a DUI necessarily deserves this. We're really just demonizing people.

2 people like this
Posted by DTPA
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 30, 2016 at 11:24 am

Umm... This is already in place... :. I guess they are adding the option for 1st time offenders so they can give "poorer" people a break on the cost of the device.

Yeah, i agree shrink government...

People just buy used cars or borrow a car to slap the device in then park it, while they drive their daily per usual...

Waste of taxpayer money for this legislation...

Jerry brown wont stop digging into our pockets!!! Just look at your water bill... Tiered system now... When they purposely flow 1/3 or our water supply into the ocean, the rate changes were specifically so they could do that to finally pay for some structural modernizations.

Dems r funny... we are in a drought yet they want open borders...

Its like throwing a huge party and inviting everyone over but theres no beer to drink!!! Well u can drink... U just have to PAY MORE!!! $$$$$$

5 people like this
Posted by Critical thinker
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 30, 2016 at 11:49 am

Resident, in which way is this more a punishment than a preventative measure? And demonizing them, really?

To me it seems to be a helpful option for first time offenders who might rather choose it instead of having their driving privileges suspended. For people who have committed multiple DUI offences already and have hurt other people in the past, it is a preventative measure to keep the rest of us safe with minimum impact on their ability to drive while sober.

Yes, it would be even better for society if they got help with their addiction and their inability to overcome whatever makes them drink and endanger other people unintentionally. Our government has a lot of areas where they do need improvement, but I don't think this measure deserves your grave criticism.

4 people like this
Posted by Charles Hickman
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2016 at 11:51 am

DTPA - The legislation doesn't cost a lot of taxpaper money - the offenders pay for the device installation and monitoring. The device by law has to be "installed on all vehicles [the offender] operates." If they drive another vehicle they're in violation, and if hauled in, they face worse charges.

3 people like this
Posted by Get rid of the lemmings
a resident of Portola Valley
on Sep 30, 2016 at 11:53 am

I think we should install a device on all of the politician's cars that locks them out when they raise taxes and waste money.

2 people like this
Posted by Dean
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2016 at 11:55 am

There are many ways for the offenders to get around the lock, and drive anyhow. The chance of this happening is reduced by the extent of drunkenness of the individual. A sober person can start the car for them, and I would guess that the law would cover this base by a huge financial penalty, but the accident would have already occurred, and the possible lives lost! Any sensible person would not entertain the thought of starting a car for an individual who is drunk, but drunk is not an easy determination to make, witness the difficulties law enforcement have in making this determination.

I believe inattentive driving is responsible for more accidents than is drunkenness. Inattentiveness can happen for many different reasons, and may occur only once in a lifetime, or be continuous whenever a specific person is driving.
I see people driving inattentively over and over, day after day, and there is really no effective way to deal with this. An occasional traffic citation will not stop this activity, however if 2 or more citations for inattentive driving, in a license period, caused the loss of drivers license for 2 years, first offense, increased by 1 year for a second offense.

How about a case for drivers license card key access to start the car and keep it running. Not too different from ATM access, and combined with the breath-a-lizer to detect drunkeness, this might just help.

4 people like this
Posted by Critical thinker
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 30, 2016 at 11:58 am

DTPA, The numbers from other state contradict your fear - where it has been established, the measure has shown to reduce incidents by at least 15% - I think the 150 Californians that will not loose their lives and the 3000 people that will not get hurt otherwise by drunk driving every year would argue that the money spend for this legislation is little compared to their lives and pain and the money it is costing them (and society including you.)

3 people like this
Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 30, 2016 at 1:30 pm

vmshadle is a registered user.

Resident (and others): When a repeat offender breaks the law by driving drunk and hurts or kills others, that person has already lost his/her privacy because of his/her crime, interactions with law enforcement, and the court system, all of which is a matter of public record.

Any family which has lost one of its members to the reckless actions of these repeat offenders isn't going to care about "big government" intrusion. They are, however, most likely quite interested that society do its utmost to prevent other families from the horrible suffering willfully inflicted by a repeat offender.

2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2016 at 2:51 pm

"critical thinker" let me tell you, I think critically, I do not need to take a "Critical Thinking" class, I think critically to a fault and you insinuated this nicely at the end of your post.

California's overreach is totally out of control. We pay twice as much for gas than the rest of the country. Jerry Brown is a true parasite. Every time I see a direct violation of liberty that mysteriously acts as a financial incentive for a certain party (for example: allowing EVs in the carpool lane) I will criticize it as gravelly as I can because no one else will. Lemmings, indeed.
Its the principle of the matter.

1 person likes this
Posted by Lemmings?
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 30, 2016 at 4:15 pm

When I read the comments here objecting to this program on the basis of "freedom," what I hear is more like "My ability to drive drunk without any consequences is being taken away!"

But I guess taking responsibility for one's actions is a foreign concept for some people.

2 people like this
Posted by DTPA
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 30, 2016 at 5:01 pm

Charles, consider in terms of the time spent by staff and lawyers and the guy from san mateo putting together the paperwork and all else involved for the past x amount of years, to put something on the books that is ALREADY on the books!!! In 5 years they will do it all over again bc they are sitting there doing nothing really and will have to look productive... Its a waste of taxpayer money. Atleast hillary did nothing in congress. xD

Good numbers think critically, i love numbers, but i dont have time to chase them down and verify and critically look at what u present, but notice u r bringing emotions into the discussion about costs... I am just saying its a waste of money to put a team together and spend cycles recreating something that already exists, and it is, and people will find ways around it, and then they ruin their own lives bc they r dumb, then they become homeless and live in democratically run cities pushing for government assistance.

It just sounds dumb, government will pay for half of your dui device. Governemnt will pay for your cell phones. Governement will pay for your birth control... Viagra... Etc... Jerry brown forcibly turned water into a frigging giffin good for christs sake?!?!? Why didnt he just get rid of some laws and let all men piss in bushes designsted pissing areas, that will save water and not cost u any more. if u started a business and put me in charge and i told u we should spent alot of money on this stuff... You would give me my walking papers or take a hammer to my head...

Lastly look up parkinsons law think critically... This isnt a great example but look up the number of people employed by farms, number of farms, and the number of staff in the deptment of agriculture in the 1940s, then look up the same for 2016... You might get a good laff.

8 people like this
Posted by Untouched
a resident of Southgate
on Oct 1, 2016 at 2:39 pm

It's really easy for people to protest with "violation of privacy", etc., when their lives have been untouched by a death due to DUI. And sure, there are ways for drivers to cheat. But at least this is some deterrent. It's unfair that a person or family can be plowed down and killed due to another person's irresponsible behavior. I favor prison time with hardened felons on the second offense. Shaking in the boots a bit might change future behavior. Yes, I'll pay more taxes to keep us safe. I'd prefer my taxes go there than to welfare and undocumented immigrants.

4 people like this
Posted by Great!
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 2, 2016 at 1:01 pm

Great! is a registered user.

Glad to see this.

No one, in the name of privacy or reducing big government or any such ridiculous claim, has the right to get behind the wheel drunk and kill me or those I love. If we have to legislate to keep innocent people on the road safe and alive, so be it. It's the same with seat belts. Seat belts save lives. I'm grateful for that law.

Like this comment
Posted by TLM
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 2, 2016 at 4:56 pm

I have two relatives who are chronic alcoholics and have been arrested multiple times for DUI, and been in multiple accidents, fortunately without causing injury so far. They both live in other states, and I have been appalled that those states continue to let them drive, when I know that they are rarely if ever sober, and sometimes completely impaired.
I am very frightened for anyone driving in their path.
One has recently been required to have a breathalyzer installed in order to drive her car. This is not an invasion of her privacy. This is common sense and an important safety measure for pedestrians and other motorists in her city. It has kept her from driving while she is drunk. She has had to walk instead, and has managed to get arrested for public intoxication while walking, in circumstances where I am certain that she otherwise would have been behind the wheel.
People who have had multiple DUI's are usually chronic alcoholics. Many continue to drive even when they have a suspended license.
This is a long overdue measure to protect the public.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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