CDC rec­om­mends ig­ni­tion in­ter­lock de­vices in all DUIs

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QThe ig­ni­tion in­ter­lock de­vice sounds like a per­fect de­ter­rent to drunken driv­ing.

But why not in­stall it after one DUI in­stead of just re­peat of­fend­ers or if they have in­jured some­one? How sim­ple is that? Why wait un­til the driver in­jures or kills some­one or com­mits mul­ti­ple DUIs? How can we make this hap­pen? — Ar­lene Ed­min­ster, San Jose

AIt may hap­pen. The Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion rec­om­mends ig­ni­tion in­ter­locks for ev­ery­one con­victed of DUI, even first of­fend­ers. The Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion says they re­duce re­cidi­vism among first-time and re­peat of­fend­ers. Re­search from the CDC in­di­cates that first­time of­fend­ers have driven drunk at least 80 times be­fore they are ar­rested.

An IID is about the size of a cell­phone and wired to your ve­hi­cle’s ig­ni­tion. The IID re­quires your breath sam­ple and, if it de­tects al­co­hol on your breath, the en­gine will not start. As you drive, you are pe­ri­od­i­cally re­quired to pro­vide breath sam­ples to en­sure the con­tin­ued ab­sence of al­co­hol in your sys­tem. Q How much does it cost to in­stall an IID and who pays for it? — Fred Cody, San Ma­teo A It costs $70 to $150 for in­stal­la­tion and about $60 to $80 per month. IID providers pay most of the cost.

Q

The High­way 25 exit from High­way 101 in Gil­roy is a lo­ca­tion you could really help by sim­ply mark­ing the shoul­der as an of­fi­cial exit line for the last ½ mile and try and stop last-minute lane changes. The back­ups from this exit bring traf­fic to a halt well into Gil­roy. — Dave Jones, Gil­roy A It’s com­ing. Money to re­design this in­ter­change has been ap­proved by the Val­ley Trans­porta­tion Au­thor­ity.

Q

Our Prius is about to hit 180,000 miles on the orig­i­nal bat­tery. Are we press­ing our luck? — John S., Monte Sereno A Maybe. The bat­ter­ies in mod­ern hy­brids are de­signed to last for at least 100,000 miles. Some might even make it to 150,000 or more. Your car will tell you when it’s time for a new bat­tery. The gas en­gine will run al­most con­stantly and your fuel econ­omy will take a no­tice­able hit. While your car may run for some time on a bum bat­tery, its per­for­mance and ef­fi­ciency will steadily de­cline un­til it’s re­placed.

Our 13-year-old Prius is still hum­ming at 156,000 miles. What are oth­ers find­ing? Q Any chances Al­maden Ex­press­way will ever be widened to three lanes from Al­maden Road to Red­mond Av­enue? — Kevin A., San Jose A No. There are no plans to widen Al­maden be­yond Cole­man Av­enue. There is a pro­ject to im­prove the Al­maden/ Cam­den in­ter­sec­tion.

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