Tulare County’s Experience with Interlock Devices


Ignition interlock devices are sometimes ordered to be installed onto vehicles following a DUI conviction.  However, this is not always the case.  In California, four counties are participating in a pilot program to have the device installed after the first DUI conviction.

Last month, the California state senate unanimously approved a bill requiring the installation of an ignition interlock device into their vehicles by anyone convicted of drunk driving.  

This is something that drivers in Tulare are already familiar with. It is one of the counties who has been participating in the pilot program.

So far, the data looks good.  The instances of repeated offenses of drunk driving after the first conviction appear to be dropping.

Using data provided from vendors of the device, Mothers Against Drunk Driving or MADD., was able to compile some statistics about the success of the ignition interlock device.

From the start of the pilot program on July 1, 2010, MADD reported that over 1 million instances occurred where a vehicle would not start due to the device detecting alcohol on the driver’s breath.  

Additionally, in 140,000 cases, the driver’s blood alcohol content was 0.8 or higher, the level at which a person is legally drunk.

Five years ago, DUI convictions in Tulare numbered 3,600.  The number of convictions fell to 2,500 last year.  DUI deaths dropped from 34 in 2010 to only 4 in 2015.  If you combine all four counties participating in the pilot program, deaths dropped from 150 in 2010 to 108 in 2015.  

In contrast to counties where the program was not implemented, DUI deaths in these counties stayed roughly the same.  

However, in Tulare county, one of the main issues with the program is that too many convicted drunken drivers never install the devices.  Tulare county’s installation rate is under 30%.  

If you have been charged with DUI, you will need legal representation.  Our lawyers specialize in DUI defense and can help.  Contact us today.


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