A bill that would require DUI offenders to install breathalyzers in their cars, is one step closer to becoming a law in California. The legislature approved the bill late this week and sent it to the Governor’s desk for approval. State Senator Jerry Hill of San Mateo, who authored the bill, said he felt confident that Governor Brown will sign it.
Four counties in California including Alameda county already mandate the devices, referred to as “ignition interlock devices,” for DUI convictions. The driver is required to blow into the device and register a blood alcohol content level below the legal limit, before the car will start. Senator Hill says making the requirement apply to the entire state would save lives.
“In the four counties where the pilot program has been in place those devices have prevented drinking and driving over one million times,” Hill said.
Under current law a person convicted of DUI has their license suspended. The bill would instead allow the offender to continue to drive as long as they install the ignition interlock device in their car.
Mary Klotzback of Livermore lost her son Matthew in a horrific crash 15 years ago. The 22-year-old was home from the Naval Academy and coming back from a day at the beach with his parents, when a driver ran a stop sign and t-boned their jeep. Mary and her husband Tom Klotzback survived the crash, but Matthew was killed.
“He had just been engaged a week before. He was going to become a naval pilot. It’s hard but I want to prevent this pain from happening to another family,” Mary Klotzbach said.
The Klotzbaches feel so strongly about the effectiveness of the ignition interlock devices, they had one installed in their own car. They believe requiring the devices would have saved their son’s life.
Hill is confident the Governor will sign the bill, and Brown has until September 30th to do so. If he does, the law would take effect in 2019. 28 other states have similar laws.