Ignition interlock devices are pretty much a breathalyzer that is installed on a vehicle. It will prevent the car from starting if the person blowing into the device registers at .08% or higher blood-alcohol content. In addition to requiring a breath test to start the vehicle, most IID devices will also require another test a few moments after the car is started. It will then require tests randomly as the person drives. Time is given between the device asking for a breath sample and registering a failure, so those with the devices on their vehicle have time to pull over to take the test. More and more states are making ignition interlock devices mandatory for DUI convictions, as ABC News reports.
In 2005, New Mexico was the first state to require ignition interlock devices to be installed for all DUI offenders, even first-time DUIs. Three years later, the state saw a significant drop in DUI-related fatalities.
Since, thirty-two states and Washington, D.C., have enacted laws that require the installation of an IID for all offenders. Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Montano, and Ohio require an IID only for repeat offenders.
California formerly only required repeat offenders to have an IID installed. However, following a pilot program that was initiated in four counties, that law has changed. Now, even first offenders will be ordered to install a device if there are injuries involved. First-time offenders can also choose to install the device rather than have limited driving privileges.
Installation of the IID device costs anywhere from $70 to $150 and monthly maintenance costs from $60 to $80 a month. In California, the law provides for a sliding scale based on income, so those who have trouble affording the device and installation can pay just a fraction of the cost.
California’s new law regarding the installation if breathalyzers on vehicles went into effect on January 1st, 2019.