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Local senator proposes ignition lock devices for all DUI drivers

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A senator is proposing a law that would require all convicted drunk drivers to install ignition interlock devices on their cars.

A Bay Area lawmaker filed a bill on Monday that he believes would help keep drunk drivers off California roads.

Actually, four counties in California already require ignition interlock devices on their cars. St.
Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, would simply make it mandatory across the state.

In November, Paul Diaz was convicted of vehicular manslaughter in connection with the drunk driving hit and run crash that killed three people in Daly City.

"Every time I hear of another drunk driving crash, I want to make a difference," Nina Walker from Mothers Against Drunk Driving said.

Walker's 22-year-old daughter Ginger was killed in a head on crash. The driver of the other car was intoxicated. Ginger left behind a 3-year-old son.

Hill said during a press conference, "50,000 Californians have been killed by drunk drivers. We must take action to prevent more deaths and injuries from drunk drivers."

Hill's legislation would require all drivers, even first offenders, convicted of driving under the influence to install ignition interlock devices on their cars. If the breathalyzer indicates that their blood alcohol level is above a pre-set limit, the car won't run; 24 states have similar laws.

"In Arizona, New Mexico and Louisiana, their interlock laws have reduced DUI fatalities over 35 percent," Hill said.

He says that's significant, especially in California where repeat DUI offenders account for about a third of all DUI convictions every year. Ignition interlock devices are connected to a vehicle's ignition.

This is how it works: you turn the car's ignition on, but the car won't start, and it won't start because you have to breathe into the breathalyzer first. When it says pass, you can then rev up the car.

Mary Klotzbach lost her son Matthew, who was at home from the naval academy when a drunk driver hit his car in Los Gatos. She came to Hill's news conference Monday to support his legislation.

"It's a 100 percent preventable. We can stop this and we can use technology to do that," Mary Klotzbach from Mothers Against Drunk Driving said.

The National Transportation Safety Board recently recommended that every state adopt laws requiring ignition interlock devices for convicted drunk drivers.

Related Topics:
politicsjerry hillDUIarrestdrunk drivingdrunk driving deathlawsdrivingcaliforniaSan Mateo
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