Today's Law As Amended

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AB-974 Vehicles: driving under the influence.(2019-2020)

As Amends the Law Today

 The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(a) Alcohol consumption and driving under the influence impose enormous health and safety costs on California. Problem drinkers account for a disproportionate share of these costs. California has had success with its current approach to driving under the influence by lowering blood alcohol concentration limits and by focusing on reducing the likelihood that individuals drive while intoxicated. However, California has been less successful at targeting those with an underlying alcohol problem that makes them more likely to consistently drive while impaired.
(b) Those with prior convictions for driving under the influence are far more likely to recidivate than first-time offenders. Moreover, these people are disproportionately involved in alcohol-related traffic fatalities and are likely to have a diagnosis of alcohol dependence.
(c) In 2005, South Dakota started a pilot program called “24/7 Sobriety” and required those arrested for or convicted of alcohol-related offenses to take twice-a-day breathalyzer tests or wear a continuous alcohol monitoring bracelet. Those who fail or skip their tests are immediately subject to certain but modest sanctions, typically a day or two in jail. After a five-county pilot project, the program grew to include more jurisdictions and offenses. Studies have found that the total number of repeat driving-under-the-influence arrests in counties operating the program fell by 12 percent, and the total number of arrests for domestic violence dropped by 9 percent.

SEC. 2.

 Section 23611 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:

 (a) The court may require a person who has been convicted of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153 to enroll and participate in, and successfully complete, a qualified “24/7 sobriety program,” as described in subdivision (b), if the program is available and deemed appropriate, and the person committed the current violation within 10 years of one or more separate violations of Section 23152 or 23153 that resulted in a conviction.
(b) For purposes of this section, a “24/7 sobriety program” requires a participant to abstain from alcohol or controlled substance use for a designated period of time. Testing for alcohol or controlled substances may be accomplished by twice-per-day testing at a testing location, continuous transdermal alcohol monitoring via an electronic monitoring device, or by any alternative method approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the United States Department of Transportation. The “24/7 sobriety program” methodology shall be evidence-based. “Evidence-based” means the program methodology meets at least two of the following criteria:
(1) Evaluation research shows that the program produces the expected positive results.
(2) The results can be attributed to the program itself, rather than to other extraneous factors or events.
(3) The evaluation is peer reviewed by experts in the field.
(4) The program is endorsed by a federal agency or respected research organization and included in its list of effective programs.
(c) In order to enable all required defendants to participate, each person shall pay the program costs commensurate with the person’s ability to pay as determined pursuant to Section 11837.4 of the Health and Safety Code.
(d) The court shall not impose a program of more than 180 days in length unless the defendant tests positive for alcohol or an unauthorized controlled substance or fails to appear for a test.
(e) The Office of Traffic Safety shall include a description of the provisions authorizing a “24/7 sobriety program” in the highway safety plan submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and in any applications for federal highway safety grants.