Cocktails Meet the Concrete – California DMV Reducing Drunk Driving


When I attended a Lobster Festival a few months ago, I thought it was pretty invasive to be given a drunk driving test like every motorist leaving the vicinity of the event was pulled over to take. However, no one wants to be the victim of a drunk driving accident and new regulations are designed to curb the repeat offender time behind the wheel and behind bars. When driving the California wine trails, or attending food, beer and wine festivals, or holiday parties during Thanksgiving and Christmas, assign a designated sober driver or plan for a taxi. To curb the drunk driving fatalities and accidents, new measures are being enacted that are in the testing phase currently, but could be adopted statewide if they prove to be a success.

Drunk driving facts California:

  • Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities decreased 7.6 percent in a recent year to 950.
  • Since 2005, alcohol-impaired fatalities have dropped a staggering 26.8 percent.
  • California’s alcohol-impaired driving fatality rate is much better than the national average of 0.40.
  • Of the five largest states in terms of total traffic fatalities, (CA, FL, TX, GA, & NC), California has the best rate.
  • The 21-24 age group had the highest percentage of drivers in fatal crashes with BAC levels of .08 or higher.
  • California's statewide DUI conviction rate is 79%.

Pilot Project to Curb Driving Under the Influence (DUI):

  • An ignition interlock device (IID) was designeded to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road.
  • Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare counties require installation of an IID in all vehicles for DUIs.
  • IID is wired to the vehicle’s ignition. The device is slightly larger than a cell phone, easily installed and requires a breath sample before the engine will start. If the IID detects alcohol on your breath, the engine will not start.
  • As you drive, you are periodically required to provide breath samples to ensure the continued absence of alcohol in your system.
  • IDD monitoring can lead to a 40-95% reduction in the rate of repeat drunk driving offenses.
  • IID must be calibrated and inspected by a certified installer every 60 days. The inspections make sure the device is working properly and that no violations have been logged. Drivers who do not comply with IID requirements are reported to the court or to the DMV (whichever applies) and may have their driving privilege suspended or revoked.

Information was supplied courtesy of California Department of Motor Vehicles and California Office of Traffic Safety.



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