Monday, October 12, 2009

One Small Step

A couple weeks back, we posted a column by Mary Klotzbach, Chair of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Public Policy Committee for California, in which she called for the passage of AB91, a state bill by Assemblyman Mike Feuer of Los Angeles. AB91 would create a five-year pilot program in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare counties in which ignition interlock devices would be installed on vehicles owned or operated by first-time convicted drunk drivers. These devices force drivers to take a breathalyzer test before allowing them to start their cars.

AB91 passed both houses of the legislature, but before Sunday night, it was languishing on the Governor's desk as he threatened a political veto of nearly 700 bills before today's deadline to sign them into law. Late last night, the Governor's office announced he had signed at least 230 bills, including AB91. The pilot program will go into effect in January, 2010.

We'd like to thank MADD for their hard work and advocacy on behalf of this important policy that will keep our streets and neighborhoods safe. You can read more about AB91 and the hundreds of bills the Governor signed (and vetoed) in this article from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Happy Columbus Day, and stay safe.

1 comment:

  1. This is a nice "feel good" solution which would unfortunately have very little practical impact because a drunk can simply get a sober friend to blow into the ignition to start the car. The best solution would be to restrict the drivers license (to and from work only) of a first time convicted drunk driver and give a 5 year suspension for a second drunk driving conviction and a 10 year suspension for a 3rd time drunk driving conviction. A lifetime suspension would be implemented for four or more drunk driving convictions. Anyone caught driving with a license suspended or restricted due to drunk driving will be given a mandatory 90 days in jail, no part of which can be suspended, and the mandatory impound and lean sale of the vehicle driven by any suspect so arrested. If the suspect doesn’t own the vehicle, it is the responsibility of the owner to ensure that the vehicle was not given to a person with such a drivers license suspension. "-When in doubt, don’t lend the car out". The subject will be infoirmed that cameras, either visible or covert, will be used to monitor the driving activities of any person with a license that was suspended for 2 or more convictions. The camera will ensure that the convicted drunk driver will not know when he is being monitored and any photo of the suspect driving will be a rebuttable presumption that the suspect was driving on a suspended license. Zero tolerance, maximum enforcement and the perception that they will be caught, will stop the problem far more effectively than a blow tube. Do any of our two-fisted drinking legislators in Sacramento have the will to propose such a law? I’ll bet a bottle of single malt scotch that they don’t.