Senator Dodd’s Anti-Drunken Driving Bill Heads to the Governor
SACRAMENTO – A bill from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to strengthen California’s efforts to prevent drunken driving was approved by the Legislature today with overwhelming, bipartisan support.
“Sadly, drunken-driving crashes, injuries and deaths are too common in California,” Senator Dodd said. “This bill will prevent impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel and make our roads safer.”
According to the California Attorney General’s Office, in 2016 there were 125,501 DUI arrests statewide. The CHP reported 35,212 DUI-related accidents and 13,979 injuries that same year, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded 1,059 alcohol-impaired-driving deaths in the state.
Established in 1990, the Designated Driver Program is funded by a small surcharge paid by alcohol licensees, not taxpayer dollars. The program is administered by the California Highway Patrol to develop and implement new strategies and technologies to combat the problem of driving under the influence.
Senate Bill 973 doubles the funding available to the designated driver program by increasing the annual $5 assessment on alcohol licensees to $10 per year. This will enable the CHP to undertake new outreach through social media and to target high impact locations. The bill also authorizes distilled spirits makers to give free or discounted rides.
It passed both the Senate and Assembly with overwhelming support and goes next to Gov. Jerry Brown for a signature.
“The CHP is our state's front line defense against impaired driving, and funding programs to increase designated driver programs and alternative transportation options is an effort AAA is proud to support,” said Mike Blasky, spokesman for AAA Northern California. “The pain of losing a loved one because of the negligence of an impaired driver is something no family should experience, and I'd like to thank the Legislature and Senator Dodd in particular for the commitment to making California's roads safer for everyone.”
“Designating a non-drinking driver is always the safest way home, and it’s important to plan ahead every time your plans include alcohol,” said Colleen Sheehey-Church, national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. “It’s never OK to designate ‘the least drunk’ person as the driver at the end of the night. A non-drinking designated driver can be a friend or a family member. Or drivers can plan to take a taxi, Uber or public transportation. With so many options available, everyone can find a non-drinking driver to get them home safely.”
"I want to thank Senator Dodd and the Legislature for passing this bill,” said Doug Villars, President of the California Association of Highway Patrolmen. “The CHP arrests more impaired drivers than any other law enforcement agency. Impaired drivers not only kill themselves; they take the lives of innocent people and it needs to stop. Drunk driving needs to be eradicated altogether. We are pleased to have additional funding added to the DDP as it saves lives. Additional funding will allow for added resources and the ability to reach more people.”
Senator Bill Dodd represents California’s 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Yolo, Sacramento, and Contra Costa counties. You can learn more about Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd