A look at California’s interlock device pilot program

California’s ignition interlock pilot program is aimed at keeping repeat drunk drivers off of the road and reducing the number of DUI deaths.

Despite state and national media campaigns warning people to not drink and drive, drunk drivers continue to take the lives of innocent people on California roadways and across the country. In 2013, 867 people lost their lives in drunk driving car accidents in California, which was an increase of 4.6 percent from 2012, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. State lawmakers have taken action in an attempt to reduce the number of drunk driving injuries and fatalities by launching an ignition interlock device pilot program. The program, which is currently in effect in Los Angeles, Alameda, Sacramento and Tulare counties, requires all convicted DUI offenders to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. Many people are hoping the pilot program gets adopted statewide.

Keeping the roads safe

Studies and statistics show that interlock devices are actually effective at reducing the number of repeat drunk drivers on the road by up to 67 percent, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is significant considering that up to 75 percent of DUI offenders with suspended driver's licenses continue to drive. Many states that enforce mandatory interlock device use for all convicted DUI offenders have seen a dramatic decline in the DUI fatality rate as well. For example, the DUI death rate in Oregon, Louisiana, Arizona, New Mexico and West Virginia has dropped by at least 30 percent since enacting laws requiring IID use.

How do IIDs work?

According to TechHive, interlock devices operate much like roadside breath test machines that officers' use when testing drivers for intoxication. Drivers must submit a breath sample before the car will start, as well as intermittently throughout the drive. The machine measures the driver's blood alcohol content level, and will lock up if the BAC measures higher than a preset level. DUI offenders must cover the cost of IID installation, as well as maintenance and calibration services every 60 days. During these appointments, the installer will download information from the device, including BAC levels, startup attempts and any signs of tampering or misuse.

Surviving a drunk driving car accident

If you are the unfortunate victim of a drunk driving car accident, you may have questions regarding your legal rights and options. You might wish to seek compensation for any property damage, medical expenses, lost wages and emotional suffering stemming from the accident. You may want to speak to a personal injury lawyer in California in order to discuss your best course of action.