Sacramento County piloting ignition interlock device program
Drunk driving is a serious problem in California and across the United
States. In 2012 alone, drunk drivers took the lives of 802 people statewide,
a 3.6 percent increase from the year before, according to Mothers Against
Drunk Driving. That same year, 10,322 people were killed and 345,000 people
were injured in
drunk driving accidents across the country. In an attempt to lower the number of drunk driving
accidents, injuries and deaths, California is piloting an ignition interlock
device program in four counties, including Sacramento, Alameda, Tulare
and Los Angeles.
What is the ignition interlock device program?
People who are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in Sacramento
County are required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle,
even if they are a first-time offender, according to the California Department
of Motor Vehicles. Before the IID pilot program, interlock devices were
ordered according to the judge's discretion. While judges were encouraged
to carefully consider ordering interlock devices in DUI cases involving
offenders with blood alcohol content levels of 0.15 percent or higher,
there was no standardized procedure for this process. The IID pilot program
is scheduled to expire at the end of 2015, at which time state officials
will determine whether to adopt the program statewide.
Do interlock devices work to curb drunk drivers?
Interlock devices have proven to be effective in keeping drunk drivers
off of the streets. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
these small breath test analyzers can reduce the DUI recidivism rate by
67 percent. Currently, there are 24 states in the nation that require
IID use for all convicted drunk drivers, and many of those states have
seen a significant decrease in the DUI fatality rate. For example, since
enacting the IID program, Arizona has seen a 43 percent decline in DUI
fatalities, and Utah has had a 30 percent reduction in deaths. Oregon,
New Mexico, Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, West Virginia, Washington and
Kansas have also had favorable results.
One of the reasons why interlock devices are so successful is that they
make it impossible for an
intoxicated driver to operate his or her vehicle. The car simply won't turn on unless
the driver submits a clean breath sample with a BAC measuring less than
the preset limit, according to the Century Council. While DUI offenders
who have suspended driver's licenses may continue to drive illegally,
interlock devices take away that opportunity for drunk drivers.
Contact an attorney
People who choose to drive while intoxicated should be held responsible
for their negligent actions. If you have been involved in a car accident
caused by a drunk driver, it is crucial that you take immediate action.
A personal injury attorney can help you explore your legal options and
walk you through the process. Not only can you receive compensation for
your injuries, lost wages and property damage, but you are helping to
remove another drunk driver from the streets.