Sen. Mark Manendo’s bill to mandate all drivers convicted of DUI to pay for an ignition interlock device on their vehicle passed the Senate on Friday.
The vote was unanimous for SB259, ordering the courts to require interlock devices for at least six months. At the same time, it doubles the length of time before someone can drive again if they refuse the interlock to six months instead of 90 days. That isn’t the conviction, but the administrative suspension of the license.
But SB259 does allow a driver charged with DUI to avoid the administrative suspension if they agree to an interlock before resolution of their case in court.
The devices are rented, not purchased, and cost about $2.50 a day — $75 a month. The bill would mandate reduction of that monthly fee for those who qualify as low income but need to drive to get to work. It doesn’t say who would pay the difference.
“The goal is to prevent those who drive drunk from being able to start their car,” said Manendo.
The interlock is a breathalyzer that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects an alcohol level of 0.02 or greater. That’s one quarter of the legal limit.
The bill goes to the Assembly for review.