A new law will require ignition lock systems to be installed on drunk drivers’ automobiles, according to details from the Sacramento Bee.  This is a measure that will hopefully reduce the amount of fatal car accidents caused by drunk driving — roughly 30 percent of 2008 California wrongful deaths on the road.

Drunk driving is a national problem that state law makers and law enforcement officials have been trying to prevent for decades.  Hopefully, this new tactic will make a greater impact to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers.

DUI ignition locks will become mandatory in California starting this summer.

Four counties in California will begin making ignition lock systems mandatory for DUI offenders beginning on July 1, 2010.  Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the law, and he is positive about the change it will make.

“By installing (the) devices, we are making it harder for DUI offenders to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, and we are working to save innocent lives,” Schwarzenegger said after signing the law into effect earlier this week.

The ignition lock program to prevent drunk driving will be tested through 2015 in Sacramento, Alameda, Los Angeles and Tulare counties.  Sacramento was included because of its high drunk driving rate, and a report to state legislature upon completion of the trial period will evaluate whether or not it worked.

Under the new law, a first time drunk driving conviction results in a five month installation of the ignition lock system.  If the first offense involves personal injuries, the device stays on for a year.  Second time offenders get 12 months and a third conviction results in 24 months.  Motorcyclists, however, are not affected by the new law.

Convicted drunk drivers will have to pay for installation and fees themselves.  Assemblyman Mike Feuer of Los Angeles estimates installation costs at $75 or more and monthly monitoring costs of at least $50.  Lower-income offenders may be reduced up to 90 percent.

A Department of Motor Vehicles report showed that four to five percent of first-time drunk driving offenders in Sacramento are usually involved in a second offense — which is upsetting to our car accident lawyers in San Diego.  If this new law helps detract offenders from repeating bad choices, then we can only hope this measure filters throughout California to prevent car accidents all over the state.

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