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New Drunk Driving Bills Could Give CA Toughest DUI Laws In Country

(KPIX 5) -- Two proposed drunk driving bills would give California the distinction of having some of the toughest DUI laws in the country if they're passed in the state legislature.

On Friday, Sen. Jerry Hill is expected to introduce SB 545, also known as the Matthew Klozbach Mandatory Ignition interlock for DUI Offender Act of 2019. The bill would require anyone convicted of drunk driving to install an ignition interlock in their vehicle, which prevents a car from starting if the driver fails an alcohol breath test.

"A thousand people are killed every year from drunk drivers and 20,000 are injured. We want to reduce those numbers and this will do it," said Hill.

The bill is named after the son of Mothers Against Drunk Driving activist Mary Klozbach. Mary and her husband were in the car with their son Matthew in 2001 when they were hit by a drunk driver.

"Matthew was killed instantly," said Mary.

A second, more controversial bill, SB 1713, would change the legal drunk driving limit in California from a blood alcohol content of .08 to .05. Hill said he expects opposition on that bill from the hospitality industry.

Currently Utah is the only state in the county with a .05 drunk driving limit. Klozbach said she planned to support both bills and would appear alongside Hill at a press conference in Sacramento Wednesday.

"I see it as [Matthew's] legacy," she said. "And I will do this until my dying days."

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