Ignition Interlock Devices in Jeopardy

As if evidence of the state’s fiscal straits wasn’t stark enough, consider Assembly Bill 91, which would create pilot project in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare counties where persons convicted of drunk driving would be required to install an interlock device on their vehicles.

New Mexico, Texas, Washington, among other states, use the devices which the bill’s author, Assemblyman Mike Feuer, a Los Angeles Democrat, says can reduce DUI recidivism by as much as 95 percent.

The length of time the device would stay on a vehicle varies depending on the number of offenses. A first offense would require the device stay on for five months. The device would stay on for three years for four or more convictions. Drivers would pay a fee, estimated at $50 to cover the costs.

Several law enforcement groups as well as automakers support Creation of the pilot program.

The Department of Motor Vehicles estimates a start-up cost of $300,000 for the pilot plus annual costs of $500,000 to $800,000 until the program ends in 2016 These costs could eventually be covered by the proposed although final Assembly analysis of the measure says it’s not clear if a “sufficient number of offenders could or would pay the fee.

Here’s the catch:

Even if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs the measure, the bill says the start-up costs of the program must be paid with non-state dollars.  

If that outside money doesn’t materialize by January 31, 2010, the pilot program won’t be implemented.


1 Comment »

  1. It seems ignition of the ignition interlock law has become interlocked with and under the influence of the drive to have state government run dry of funds. It’s a crime no matter how you look at it.

    Comment by Let It Bleed — 9.21.2009 @ 1:34 pm

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