Some California drivers convicted of DUI will soon be allowed to get back on the road faster than before.
Under current law, drivers that receive a DUI get their license suspended for a minimum of 30 days. This new law would require offenders to put breathalyzers in their cars if they want to get their licenses back immediately.
“Drive sober or get pulled over” has been a California Highway Patrol motto for years and now being sober could potentially be the only way your car will start if you’ve been convicted of driving under the influence.
Under Senate Bill 1046, instead of getting your license suspended, drivers will soon be able to opt for an interlock device.
“Essentially, you’re going to have a breathalyzer or interlock device in your car which in order for you start your car, you’re going to have blow into the machine which will allow your car to turn on. Throughout your driving experience, wherever you’re going, you’re going to have to blow into the machine again to make sure you’re still not under the influence,” explains CHP Officer Jordan Richards.
Officer Richards says this will help take unlicensed drivers off the roads.
“By having this device in your vehicle, this will allow you to have an unrestricted license, meaning you can drive to and from work or wherever you want to go while having this device in your car for the first six months,” he said.
Richards says Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or M.A.D.D., has been researching the effectiveness of the interlock device method.
“Since 2010, they found that there’s been one million less instances of DUI on the roadway,” Richards said.
While he mostly applauds the new law, San Luis Obispo Defense Attorney Earl Conaway cautions this may be cost-prohibitive for some people.
“It’s upwards of $250 to have an interlock device installed. You have to maintain it every month, that’s upwards of $100 a month. So for some it’s a great idea because they can get back on the road tomorrow, others – they’re not going to be able to do this,” Conaway said.
Now with New Year’s Eve around the corner, both the CHP and Conaway are reminding drivers to plan ahead and have a designated sober driver.
On average, a DUI can cost someone more than $10,000 as well as time in jail.