Hill Introduces Bill to Require Ignition Interlock Devices for Convicted Drunk Drivers

December 29, 2014

Media Advisory 12-29-14 - Office of State Senator Jerry Hill

Senator Jerry Hill to Hold News Conference with MADD and Law Enforcement Officials to Announce Bill Requiring All Convicted Drunk Drivers to Install Ignition Interlock Devices

Requirement was Recently Recommended by Federal Transportation Officials; 24 States Already Require These Devices for All First-Time Convicted Drivers While California has a Four-County Pilot Program

WHAT: State Senator Jerry Hill – joined by representatives for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and law enforcement officers from San Mateo and Santa Clara counties – will hold a news conference in Redwood City (Courthouse Square) to announce he is introducing legislation to require all drivers convicted of driving under the influence to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on their vehicles. In the past 30 years, more than 50,000 people have died in California because of drunk drivers and more than one million have been injured. Repeat DUI offenders account for about a third of annual DUI convictions. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, ignition interlocks are effective in reducing repeat drunk driving offenses by 67 percent. A vehicle equipped with the device will be available for viewing and video/photos at the news conference.

WHEN: Monday, Dec. 29 at 10 a.m.

WHERE: Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City, CA, 94063
At the steps of the San Mateo County Museum

CONTACT: Aurelio Rojas 916-747-3199 cell; Leslie Guevarra 415-298-3404 cell

BACKGROUND: Each year more than 1,000 Californians are killed by drunk drivers and over 20,000 are injured. An ignition interlock device is connected to a vehicle's ignition and requires a breath sample before the engine starts. The device prevents the car's engine from starting if the device detects a blood alcohol level that exceeds a pre-set limit.

Under current California law, installation of IIDs is optional for DUI offenders. Only about 20 percent of those who have a choice of installing an IID or driving on a restricted license opt for IID installation.

Hill’s legislation is consistent with the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) recent recommendation that all people convicted of drunk driving should have ignition interlock devices installed in their cars.

Currently, 24 states have similar laws requiring ignition interlocks for all first-time offenders. In California, a four-county pilot program is currently underway in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare that requires IIDs for any convicted drunk driver who seeks limited driving privileges during a portion of his or her license suspension. Hill’s bill would expand the pilot statewide.

These programs are aimed at keeping convicted drunk drivers from driving under the influence again. Sadly, as recent cases show, more needs to be done to keep convicted drunk drivers from becoming serial drunk drivers and endangering the community and themselves:

Ø In November, a man was convicted of triple murder of a Daly City family and five other felonies resulting from two crashes that occurred in a single evening in March 2013, when the man was driving drunk while on probation for a prior DUI case. He was attempting to speed away from a fender-bender, when he plowed into another vehicle, killing a 50-year old woman and her two sons, 23 and 15.

Ø Earlier this month on the Peninsula, a San Mateo man with three prior convictions for driving while under the influence was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison for driving while drunk again and crashing into two separate occupied cars on the same night last year.

“California needs to do a better job of reducing deaths and injuries from drunk drivers,” said Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. “Ignition interlocks save lives and can be an effective countermeasure to reduce DUI recidivism.”

First-time offenders are rarely first-time drunk drivers. Some estimates show that a first-time convicted DUI offender has driven drunk at least 80 times prior to being arrested.

In 2006, MADD launched A Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, which calls for states to require interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers because 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive without a license.

[Please click here to view the text of SB 61.]


Contact: Aurelio Rojas, 916-747-3199 cell; Leslie Guevarra, 415-298-3404 cell