New drunk driving law expands to first offenders

Under new California law, convicted drunk drivers will be required to pass a breathalyzer test connected to their cars in order to start their car. If they do not pass the test, the car won’t start.

Drunk driving offenders will be required to install an ignition interlock on their cars that connects to a breathalyzer under new law.  The new law, approved by Governor Jerry Brown, expands upon an existing pilot program already in effect in four California counties, including Sacramento.

An ignition interlock device requires the driver to blow into a mouthpiece on the device before starting the car.

The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2019, and is designed to prevent DUI offenders from starting their car when they’re drunk. The law requires those individuals to install the device prior to the effective date of the suspension of their license. Should the device be removed, or tampered with, the suspension would be reinstated, according to the new law.

Current law in California makes ignition interlocks mandatory for all convicted drunk driving offenders in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare counties.

The new law will require all convicted repeat offenders and first offenders who cause injury to install the device. Other first offenders will be required to either install the interlock or apply for a route-restricted license.