Assemblywoman Sharon Runner’s (R – Lancaster) legislation to help prevent repeat drunk drivers from re-offending passed the Senate Public Safety Committee Tuesday, June 21.
“Drunk driving is such a blight on our society,” said Runner. “Anything that I can do to help stop it is time well spent.”
The bill, AB 979, allows driving under the influence (DUI) offenders to install ignition interlock devices (IID) on their cars sooner than current law permits. The bill also allows police to impound any non-IID equipped vehicle driven by an individual with an IID-restricted license.
IIDs are one technological advance that has brought a new solution to drinking and driving. IIDs prevent anyone who has been drinking from starting or driving a car. It requires the driver to blow into the IID in order to start the vehicle in which the IID has been installed. In terms of numbers, attaching an IID to a car for a year, after its operator is convicted of driving while intoxicated, would reduce recidivism by an estimated 75% and alcohol-related fatalities by 7%.
“Under the present system, repeat DUI offenders fail to install IID’s because it is easier for them to drive with a suspended license,” Runner said.
The bill seeks to curb DUI recidivism by incorporating two recommendations from the September, 2004 Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Study, “An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Ignition Interlock in California.”
The Coalition to Fight Hardcore Drunk Driving was at a press conference today to present Runner with an award for her efforts to stop drunk driving and underage drinking.
“It is such a passion of mine to curb the misuse of alcohol,” said Runner. “We shouldn’t have to work to rebuild the lives of those who have been destroyed by drunk drivers.”