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Proposed law would mandate ignition interlocks

Every year, many people are injured or killed when they are hit by drunk drivers. A proposed law in California, SB 1046, would mandate that all people who are convicted of driving under the influence install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.

The bill is being sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving along with the husband of a woman who was killed by a drunk driver in 2004. The woman was 33 years old when she died. The family, including her husband and her three kids, were all in the car with her when the impaired driver hit them and killed her.

Ignition interlock devices prevent a vehicle from being started if the person attempting to start the car has alcohol in their system. People blow into the device, and if they have been drinking, the car won't move. Many other states already have laws mandating the installation of ignition interlock devices on the vehicles of drunk driving offenders. Four California counties have had a pilot program since 2010 through which drunk drivers are ordered to install them. If the bill passes, all drunk driving offenders would have to install the devices, hopefully resulting in far fewer catastrophic accidents.

When a person is driving under the influence and causes an accident, those who are injured may want to have the assistance of counsel in seeking compensation for their losses. The burden of proof for a plaintiff in a civil personal injury action is less stringent than that on the prosecution in a criminal case, so a personal injury action could be successful even if the driver is not convicted.

Source: Bakersfield Now, "California law aims to lock out drunken drivers," José Gaspar, Feb. 18, 2016

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