New California law requires DUI offenders to install breathalyzer in car

Starting Jan. 1, 2019, counties statewide will be required to use ignition interlock devices for DUI offenders.

Ignition interlock devices have been used in Los Angeles County since 2010, but a new California law mandates DUI offenders install the device in their vehicle.

"For many years we did that -- we suspended licenses, we revoked licenses -- but 2/3 of people continued to drive illegally on a suspended license. So what's going to happen is if you get one DUI, you're going to have it on for six months; if you get two, you're going to have it on for a year; if you get three, you'll have it on for two years. What the device does is it helps people change their behavior," said John Ulczycki, who works for ignition interlock device company LifeSaver.

According to LifeSaver, over the past four years in L.A. County, 6,000 people with a LifeSaver device have tried to drive drunk at .08 or above and the device stopped them.

It is just one of several companies that make the devices. Erick Escobar's North Hollywood business Alarm Connection Audio Pros installs them.

For Escobar, working to prevent drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel is personal. His uncle was killed by one back in 2014.

"We're giving them a choice to better themselves and not only they can affect their life, but they can affect somebody else's life, also," Escobar said.

During the holiday season last year in California, there was a 22 percent increase in DUI arrests. Because of California's zero-tolerance policy for alcohol rehab, the LifeSaver device locks your car at .03 percent rather than the legal limit of .08.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.