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Bill requiring ignition-lock devices for DUI offenders sent to governor

People participate in the Walk Like MADD event put on by Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Huntington Beach in 2014. (Los Angeles Times)
People participate in the Walk Like MADD event put on by Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Huntington Beach in 2014. (Los Angeles Times)

Californians convicted of driving under the influence may have to install a device in their cars that would ensure they are sober before they can start the ignition.

Under a bill the California Senate sent to the governor Thursday, DUI offenders would have to equip their vehicles with ignition interlock devices to have their licenses reinstated or to obtain a restricted license.

The devices, which can detect alcohol on a person's breath, require drivers to breathe into them to prove they are sober before they can start their vehicle.

If the governor signs the bill, SB 1046, it would take effect in 2019.

Los Angeles County already requires DUI offenders to install ignition interlock devices in their cars as part of a pilot program also in place in Sacramento, Alameda and Tulare counties.

In those counties, first-time DUI offenders must use the device for five months. Subsequent offenses require drivers to use the devices for longer periods of time.

California law already allows people convicted of DUIs to apply for restricted licenses or to have their licenses reinstated.

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