New DMV laws effective this month

Those who have had their license suspended because after being convicted of Driving Under the Influence will now have to install a breathalyzer-like device on their dashboards, requiring drivers to blow into it before their car will start.

The mandatory installation of ignition interlock devices, or IIDS, is one of two laws that went into effect July 1. The other has to do with the re-registration of vintage cars from 1963 to 1969 with black and yellow license plates. Both laws were signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2008.

“There are an estimated 40,000 persons convicted annually of DUI-related offenses who then drive on suspended licenses; further, there were 1,489 people needlessly killed in an alcohol-involved collision during 2007 in California,” said DMV Director George Valverde. “This law is a major step toward reducing those numbers.”

The DMV will notify the court if those who receive notice of mandatory installation fail to submit proof of installation within 30 days and pay a $40 administrative fee for verification. Failure to install an IID is a misdemeanor, and offenders may be punished by imprisonment in county jail for six months or less, by fine of $5,000 dollars or less or both.

Before a car’s engine can be started, the driver must blow into the IID. If the resultant breath-alcohol concentration analyzed is greater than what is programmed — usually .02 or .04 — the motor will not turn over.

The re-registration law authorizes the owner of a vehicle with a model year of 1969 or earlier — for pickup trucks the cutoff is 1972 — to utilize license plates from the year of manufacture. This increases the original application fee from $35 to $45, but the $10 annual renewal fee, $20 plate retention fee and $12 plate transfer fee remain the same.

Blue license plates with yellow letters — issued between 1970 and 1990 — are also eligible. Plates for 1964 through 1972 must be registered with a sticker matching the model year of the vehicle that will display the plates.

For more information on both laws, visit


Big Blue gets big bucks

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Thursday announced that $237 million in Recovery Act funds will go to for California transit improvements, with the Big Blue Bus receiving $14.3 million to purchase 15 alternative fuel replacement buses and 83 bus shelters

“By quickly moving federal dollars to the cities and towns across the country, we are putting people back to work now and ensuring that our nation will have reliable and efficient transit system for generations to come,” said LaHood.

 Since President Obama signed ARRA into law on Feb. 17, 2009, 343 grants totaling $3.2 billion have been made available for transit improvements throughout the nation.

“These funds are creating jobs now while investing in the future of our transit systems,” said Administrator Peter Rogoff of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). “The public’s demand for transit service continues to grow, and these dollars will help meet that need.”

Overall, the U.S. Department of Transportation has made $48.1 billion available for highway, road, shipyard, bridge and airport construction and repairs nationwide, including $8.4 billion for transit capital and operating improvements.  Currently, about 6,000 transportation projects across the country have been approved. 


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