A Proposed Pilot Program Targets Drunk Drivers


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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, June 6, 2005


For the past few years, law enforcement officials and others have lamented that the number of drunken driving offenses in California is rising. They’ve also wondered how to re-invigorate formerly successful anti-drunk driving campaigns.  Republican Senator Dave Cox says his bill will respond to that need.

“We don’t get their attention, there aren’t any serious consequences. So it is a serious consequence you begin to lose your automobile, your source of transportation.”
 
Cox’s bill would create a pilot project in Sacramento County to immediately impound the car belonging to someone arrested for a second D-U-I offense— then diverting the driver to a treatment program. 

Doctor Leon Owens is a trauma care program director, whose son died in a drunk driving accident in 2002.  He says this is the way to get drivers’ attention and change their behavior. He is also participating in a study of emergency room interventions with injured drunk drivers.

“Sitting down with them non-judgementally and trying to help them connect the dots between things like we know drinking alcohol makes you feel good and it’s fun to party, but do you also appreciate that’s what landed you here.  Is this worth it really?” 

Owens is also raising money to fund the pilot project if the measure is ultimately approved and signed by the Governor. Opponents have raised concerns, saying the bill does not provide appropriate due process and lacks clarity.