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California DUI defense attorneyWhile the number of people who die in alcohol-related car crashes has been decreasing significantly since the 1980s, it still remains a large issue today. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 11,000 people in the United States died in alcohol-related car accidents in 2017. In California alone, there were 3,602 deaths. In an effort to reduce that number, a new law was passed and went into effect at the beginning of the year that requires both first-time and repeat DUI offenders to install a breath-alcohol ignition interlock device into their vehicle.

SB 1046 Requires Ignition Interlock Installation

According to the new bill, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2019, first-time DUI offenders will now have to choose between:

  1. Six months of full driving privileges with an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle, or
  2. A restricted driving permit for one year with no ignition interlock device.

If you are a first-time offender and you cause injury to another person, you have no choice but to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle for one year.

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San Jose DUI defense lawyerWhen you are intoxicated and need to get home, it may seem like a good idea to put your car into autopilot mode and hop in. That did not work out so well for a California man who was pulled over by California Highway Patrol (CHP) after police observed him asleep behind the wheel. He was stopped and arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol after he failed field sobriety tests. The incident has brought up a conversation about the safety of autopilot features in vehicles and how they are able to be abused by consumers.

Sleeping Man is Pulled Over by California Highway Patrol

In the early morning hours of Nov. 30, CHP noticed a Tesla Model S going 70 mph down U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto. Upon further inspection, CHP gathered that the driver was unconscious behind the wheel, as there was no response from him when officers activated their lights and sirens. Hoping the driver assist feature was activated on the vehicle, police closed the highway off and successfully slowed down the vehicle by driving in front of it until it came to a complete stop. When officers tapped on the window, the driver woke up and was subjected to field sobriety tests -- which he failed. The driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI.

Safety of Tesla Autopilot Feature is Questioned

Because the man was able to fall asleep at the wheel without the car realizing it, the safety of this feature is now being questioned by many. It has not yet been confirmed if the driver assist feature was actually activated during the ordeal, but because of the vehicle staying in its lane during its trip and responding to vehicles around it, it is assumed that the feature was activated. Some have pointed out that other vehicles with similar autopilot features have safety mechanisms in place to prevent situations like this.

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