Half of the U.S. now has all-offender car breathalyzer or ignition interlock requirements for drunk drivers, with tremendous results in reducing the number of repeat offenders on the roads. October, 2015, marked this important halfway point as Texas became the 25th state to recognize that car breathalyzers save lives. In contrast, and despite the state’s influence, California still only requires car breathalyzers for first-offense DUI convictions in four of its 58 counties.
What gives, California?
California is typically considered a more progressive state than Texas, but, drunk drivers are not required to install a car breathalyzer until their second DUI, unless an injury or fatality occurred, or a judge says otherwise. That means that unless someone is hurt or property is damaged, a drunk driver in California is given another chance to drink and drive again… with the potential for those accidents and injuries to occur. That seems to be exactly the opposite of what anyone would expect from California, but, with the example that Texas and the other 24 states are providing, perhaps 2016 will be the year for car breathalyzers in California.
Competition can be a great thing, especially when you consider all of the innovation that is possible when two great bodies of thought try to “win” the game. The new Texas car breathalyzer requirement for all drunk driving offenders is a good indication of where the entire country is headed when it comes to safety from drunk drivers. California has plenty of reasons to consider similar laws in the state, and even more reasons to see that without restricting a person’s ability to drink and drive, they are a huge danger on the roads. It is your move, California, now let’s see those car breathalyzer requirements fall into place so that you are not left out of the “progressive” movement of safe and sober driving.