Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Balance the Budget or work on Ignition Interlock California DUI bill?

California DUI criminal defense attorneys are told by MADD that Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) called on the Senate Public Safety Committee to restore AB 2784 to its original form and reinstate a requirement for anyone convicted of a DUI to use an alcohol ignition interlock.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee weakened the original bill introduced by Assembly Member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) just as new data from the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that California’s families are sharing the road with 310,971 drunk drivers with three or more California Drunk Driving / DUI convictions.

“Drunk driving is a primary threat to the safety and well-being of everyone in California – a threat that legislation requiring interlocks for convicted drunk drivers can significantly reduce,” said MADD National CEO Chuck Hurley. “That’s why the Senate needs to revoke the Assembly’s amendment and ensure that the original bill is approved to keep convicted drunk drivers off California’s roadways.”

MADD is urging the Senate Public Safety Committee to hold a hearing on the merits of requiring all convicted drunk drivers to use an ignition interlock device. Additionally, Californians across the state should voice their strong disappointment in this weakened bill and call on legislators to hold a hearing and support the use of ignition interlocks for all convicted DUI offenders.

“In 2006, drunk drivers killed 1,276 people in California,” said Matthias Mendezona, executive director of MADD California. “Because so many of these drunk driving tragedies are caused by those who have prior convictions, we must pass strong legislation to require alcohol ignition interlocks for everyone convicted of drunk driving.”

Mandatory ignition interlock devices for convicted offenders are scientifically proven to deter future California DUI / drunk driving offenses. Studies show that interlock devices are 65 percent effective in reducing recidivism while installed on the vehicle. Passage of AB 2784 as originally introduced will save hundreds of lives and prevent thousands of injuries.

Alcohol ignition interlocks, paid for by the convicted drunk driver, are a breath test device linked to a vehicle’s ignition system.