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January 13, 2010 > New laws on the road in the new year

New laws on the road in the new year

By Meenu Gupta

The consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs have become much worse. Starting this July, Alameda County will be part of the pilot project to mandate installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for first time DUI offenders. An alcohol ignition interlock is a small device installed into the starting circuit of a vehicle. IID will be installed on every vehicle that the offender owns or operates. "If they have a vehicle registered in their name, they would have the device installed on that vehicle and in addition to that they are not allowed to drive any other vehicle during that time period," said Silas Miers, program specialist, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

MADD supports state legislation that expands the use of current alcohol ignition interlock technology and works closely with state lawmakers to encourage passage of this lifesaving legislation. The installation will be mandatory for the first offense for five months. The length of time the device will be required would depend on the number of DUI convictions. "Second offense will be one year, third offense two years and then four and up is three years," said Miers.

Repeat DUI offenders will have the opportunity to apply for a restricted driver's license and have an IID installed on their vehicle. This new law SB 598 will also be effective from first of July this year.

"Public safety has always been my top priority, which is why I recently signed legislation to prevent DUI offenders from getting on the road while intoxicated," said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger after Assemblymember Jerry Hill announced he would introduce legislation that would make it more difficult for repeat driving under the influence (DUI) offenders to get their driver's license back.

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