Breathalyzer Ignition Interlock Devices in New Law
A new law passed in California means that starting on January 1, 2019, Breathalyzer ignition interlock devices will be required for those who are convicted of drunk driving. The offenders will be required to have the ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle for a period of five months or longer. Lawmakers who passed SB-1046 say that they are hoping lives will be saved by this increased measure to keep drunk drivers off the roadways. It is estimated by experts in ignition interlock systems that up to 35,000 drivers in California may be required to use this new measure next year.
How Breathalyzer Ignition Interlock Devices Function
Breathalyzer ignition interlock devices are used to measure the amount of alcohol present in a driver’s breath. It connects to the ignition system in a vehicle, and the driver is required to blow into it before the vehicle will start. If alcohol is detected, the driver cannot start the vehicle. These devices only measure consumed alcohol, while other items containing alcohol such as mouthwash do not lock the ignition. The devices do not detect marijuana or prescription drugs.
Pilot Program for Breathalyzer Ignition Interlock Devices
According to one of the lawmakers, more than 20,000 people are injured every year, and around 1,000 are killed by the negligent actions of drunk drivers. One of the pilot programs for the installation of Breathalyzer ignition interlock devices were instituted in Sacramento County. According to the report, repeat drunk driving offenses dropped by 74 percent. The companies that manufacture the Breathalyzer ignition interlock devices report that the machines have stopped drivers who were drunk from starting their engines over 12,000 times, eliminating many serious injuries.
History of Breathalyzer Ignition Interlock Devices
New York State was the first to pass DUI laws. Initially, there was no limit on the amount of alcohol a driver drank. However, in the 1930s, authorities determined that a blood level higher than 0.15 was too high to drive safely. Years later that was revised downward to its present 0.08 level. In 1936, a professor at Indiana University patented the first instrument for measuring drunkenness by testing a driver’s breath. It was called the Drunkometer. In 1953, a police officer and scientist, Robert Borkenstein, invented the Breathalyzer. It used chemical oxidation and photometry to evaluate the sample. According to reports at the time, it was more user-friendly than the earlier version.
How Do Breathalyzers Work?
When a person drinks, the alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream. Neither the blood or the intestines changes the concentration of alcohol. Eventually, the blood goes into the lungs where its concentration is the same as it in the circulatory system. When a breath is exhaled, as it is when a driver is asked to blow into a Breathalyzer, it is possible to obtain the blood concentration of alcohol. This allows a police officer to make a determination of drunk driving on the spot.
Types of Breathalyzers
Three types of devices measure alcohol from the breath. They are:
- Breathalyzer: This device uses a chemical reaction that changes color to measure alcohol concentration.
- Alcosensor III or IV: The Alcosensor uses a fuel cell to determine alcohol levels.
- Intoxilyzer: Infrared spectroscopy is used to detect alcohol in this device.
Lincoln CA Auto Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Lincoln CA auto accident lawyer. If you’ve been hurt or a member of your family died due to a drunk driver, you have the right to be compensated for financial damages. An injury lawyer can provide the insight you need. Call me at (916) 921-6400 locally or (800) 404-5400 nationwide. You can also reach me by filling out our convenient contact us form at my website AutoAccident.com, where a comprehensive compendium of articles on personal injury law is available for clients and others.
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