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Friday, July 30, 2021

Repeat DUI offenders face new consequences in 2019

California implements mandatory in-car breathalyzers for second-time DUI offenders

On Jan. 1, Sacramento County became one of the first areas to enforce in-car breathalyzers for residents convicted of DUI offenses. California put the new requirement into action after the original bill received unanimous approval in legislature, emphasizing the consequences of individuals drinking and driving.

The new mandatory breathalyzer installation is an ignition interlock device that requires the driver to breathe into it in order to start the automobile. This procedure is mandatory for six months for first-time DUI offenders and a year or longer for repeat offenders whose violations resulted in injuries. When blowing into the device, the person behind the wheel must exemplify a blood alcohol level below .02 to start the car.

If the driver chooses to try to start the vehicle while intoxicated, the ignition interlock will lock the driver out for a certain amount of time based on the failed test. The smart device can also detect mouthwash and produce a negative test result even if attempts are made to cover up the smell of alcohol.

The ignition interlock system also retests the driver throughout the car ride. When a retest is run, in the case of someone continuing to drink after passing the initial breathalyzer test, the vehicle’s lights will flash and its horn will go off to get the attention of law enforcement.

“When it comes to driving under the influence, the impacts of decisions made in minutes or seconds can last a lifetime,” said Nathan Trauernicht, the UC Davis fire chief. “Not only is there a tremendous legal price to pay but also ramifications in potential injuries or death(s) of those involved in a collision.”

Originally, the protocol in California was to take the suspended license of those with DUIs. The realization surfaced, however, that two-thirds of the people who were charged would still continue to drive under the influence.

“My experience was my mother and sisters almost died because a guy chose to drink and drive on Saint Patrick’s Day,” said Dallas Cunningham, a California resident. “It is a miracle they didn’t [die], but they suffered countless injuries including punctured lungs, a broken pelvis, a broken neck, a fractured spine, and traumatic brain injuries and were hospitalized for months. After this, my mom and sisters had to relearn how do a lot of things because of the seriousness of their injuries, but my mom and older sister are still, today, recovering since the accident. All of their pain and suffering could’ve been avoided if the guy had just made a different decision not to drink and drive.”

The in-car breathalyzer devices cost between $70 to $150 to install and $60 to $80 per month to enable monitoring.

California is one of 31 states that motioned to approve these devices. Drunk driving is the number one cause of death on the road, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. MADD estimated that over 300,000 incidents of intoxicated driving happen per day or 121 million times per year.

California is taking steps toward eliminating drunk drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol. There are even cell phone applications to help drunk drivers stay off the roads and find a ride home.

“My partners and I are so dedicated to preventing tragedies regarding driving under the influence that we have launched a new smartphone app appropriately named ‘I’M DRUNK’ for both Apple and Android cell phones with a simple goal in mind: ‘Two Clicks to Save a Life,’” said Tom Marquardt, the co-owner of the I’M DRUNK app. “The I’M DRUNK application allows any user who had too much to drink to simply secure a safe ride home.”

Written by: Lauren Tropio — city@theaggie.org

On Jan. 1, Sacramento County became one of the first areas to enforce in-car breathalyzers for residents convicted of DUI offenses. California put the new requirement into action after the original bill received unanimous approval in legislature, emphasizing the consequences of individuals drinking and driving.

The new mandatory breathalyzer installation is an ignition interlock device that requires the driver to breathe into it in order to start the automobile. This procedure is mandatory for six months for first-time DUI offenders and a year or longer for repeat offenders whose violations resulted in injuries. When blowing into the device, the person behind the wheel must exemplify a blood alcohol level below .02 to start the car.

If the driver chooses to try to start the vehicle while intoxicated, the ignition interlock will lock the driver out for a certain amount of time based on the failed test. The smart device can also detect mouthwash and produce a negative test result even if attempts are made to cover up the smell of alcohol.

The ignition interlock system also retests the driver throughout the car ride. When a retest is run, in the case of someone continuing to drink after passing the initial breathalyzer test, the vehicle’s lights will flash and its horn will go off to get the attention of law enforcement.

“When it comes to driving under the influence, the impacts of decisions made in minutes or seconds can last a lifetime,” said Nathan Trauernicht, the UC Davis fire chief. “Not only is there a tremendous legal price to pay but also ramifications in potential injuries or death(s) of those involved in a collision.”

Originally, the protocol in California was to take the suspended license of those with DUIs. The realization surfaced, however, that two-thirds of the people who were charged would still continue to drive under the influence.

“My experience was my mother and sisters almost died because a guy chose to drink and drive on Saint Patrick’s Day,” said Dallas Cunningham, a California resident. “It is a miracle they didn’t [die], but they suffered countless injuries including punctured lungs, a broken pelvis, a broken neck, a fractured spine, and traumatic brain injuries and were hospitalized for months. After this, my mom and sisters had to relearn how do a lot of things because of the seriousness of their injuries, but my mom and older sister are still, today, recovering since the accident. All of their pain and suffering could’ve been avoided if the guy had just made a different decision not to drink and drive.”

The in-car breathalyzer devices cost between $70 to $150 to install and $60 to $80 per month to enable monitoring.

California is one of 31 states that motioned to approve these devices. Drunk driving is the number one cause of death on the road, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. MADD estimated that over 300,000 incidents of intoxicated driving happen per day or 121 million times per year.

California is taking steps toward eliminating drunk drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol. There are even cell phone applications to help drunk drivers stay off the roads and find a ride home.

“My partners and I are so dedicated to preventing tragedies regarding driving under the influence that we have launched a new smartphone app appropriately named ‘I’M DRUNK’ for both Apple and Android cell phones with a simple goal in mind: ‘Two Clicks to Save a Life,’” said Tom Marquardt, the co-owner of the I’M DRUNK app. “The I’M DRUNK application allows any user who had too much to drink to simply secure a safe ride home.”

Written by: Lauren Tropio — city@theaggie.org

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