In accordance to Senate Bill 1046, a pilot program that was initiated from July 1, 2010, to July 1, 2017, in the counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare that required, as a condition of being issued a restricted driver’s license, being reissued a driver’s license, or having the privilege to operate a motor vehicle reinstated subsequent to a conviction of a DUI violation, for a person to install for a specified period of time an ignition interlock device on all vehicles he or she owns or operates,” had been extended in those counties until January 2019.
In addition to this extension, the bill stated that starting January 1, 2019 and until January 26, 2026, the requirement for an ignition interlocking device on all vehicles of an individual who license has been suspended for having driving under the influence but is eligible for a restricted driver’s license, will become statewide.
This means that if the suspended individual meets all other eligibility requirements needed to be allowed a restricted license, they would be able to receive that restricted license without serving any suspension time as long as that ignition interlock device is installed. The bill also states that “[t]he bill would authorize that individual to install an ignition interlock device prior to the effective date of the suspension and would require the individual to receive credit towards the mandatory term to install an ignition interlock device, as specified. The bill would require the department to immediately reinstate the suspension of the privilege to operate a motor vehicle upon receipt of notification that a person has engaged in certain activities, including, among others, attempted to remove, bypass, or tamper with the ignition interlock device.”
As the pilot program has already been in effect for the above mentioned counties, no major changes will occur in those areas with the coming new year; however, for any other counties in the state of California, this means that many drivers will be able to start driving to school or work sooner since they will not have to wait out the mandatory suspension period. Monetary issues of installing the device aside, this would be quite helpful in quickly returning to some semblance of normalcy after a DUI conviction, while still taking responsibility for one’s actions and preventing further drunk driving incidents.