Congress supports IID research

Drivers in California may someday see new cars with ignition interlock technology included from the manufacturers.

Drivers in California should be aware of how strict the state is on drunk driving. While keeping the roads safe for all is important, it is also important for drivers to know how to protect themselves. This includes understanding some of the penalties that can be faced if a drunk driving arrest leads to a conviction. High fines, time in jail and substance abuse treatment programs can all be part of a driver's consequences.

A suspension or revocation of a driver's license can also be ordered. If this happens, courts can order a driver to install an ignition interlock device once a license is reinstated. The California Department of Motor Vehicles also has the authority to require use of an IID if a driver is caught driving with a suspended or revoked license due to a DUI conviction.

What does an ignition interlock device do?

The purpose of an ignition interlock device is to prevent an intoxicated person from operating a vehicle. Before a vehicle can be started, a driver must pass a breath test. If this test indicates the presence of alcohol in the person's system, the ignition will be locked. It can only be unlocked by the successful passing of a breath test.

If the person passes the test and is allowed to drive the vehicle, additional tests during a trip can be required. These are intended to prevent drinking while driving.

All IIDs must be installed by an authorized installer. Drivers must provide proof of the installation to the courts. All driver information and test data is able to be monitored by authorities.

Are there other types of ignition interlock devices?

At the moment, breath-based IID systems are the only ones used. However, other types of systems are being tested. The Driver Alcohol Detection System has been doing research on utilizing touch instead of breath as a means by which driver alcohol content can be captured.

Mashable.com explains that in these systems, special sensors would be installed into a vehicle's steering wheel. When a driver's hands are placed on the sensors, the level of alcohol can be detected. As with breath-capture systems, intoxication will result in a locked ignition.

Congress has come out in favor of integrating IID technology into new vehicles at the manufacturing stage. BoldRide.com explains that some auto makers are considering this option.

An important tip for California drivers

It is very important for drivers who are placed under arrest for drunk driving to secure proper legal help immediately. As soon as possible, contacting an experienced lawyer is recommended.