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California Senate Committee Approves Drunken Driving Measure

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Jorgen Schyberg / Flickr

A man blows into an ignition interlock device, on Dec. 14, 2005.

There are 25 states that require all convicted drunken drivers to have an ignition interlock installed on their vehicle. California could be next.

A bill to make California the 26th state to require all convicted drunken drivers to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle has cleared its first hurdle in the state legislature.

The Senate Public Safety Committee has unanimously approved SB 1046, sponsored by State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo).

An ignition interlock is a cell-phone-sized breathalyzer that’s wired into a vehicle’s ignition system. A convicted drunk driver must blow a sober reading into it before the vehicle will start.

Mary Klotzbach, national board member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said her son was killed in 2001 by a drunk driver who had numerous DUI arrests.

“If a judge had taken it seriously on his first offense, and assigned him one of these, we’d be looking at a different story," Klotzbach said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average offender has driven drunk more than 80 times before their first arrest.

“It’s a behavior pattern that needs to be stopped, and issuing an ignition interlock for one of these folks is going to change that behavior,” Klotzbach said.

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