San Diego County Gets Cash to Monitor Risky DUI Offenders

monitor-repeat-dui-offendersIt’s no secret that when a DUI offender drives drunk for the second time, it’s serious. A first offense can be a mistake in judgement, but a second indicates that a driver has a disregard for the lives of innocent people. A tiered system of punishments are in place, but sometimes it takes more to keep repeat DUI offenders off the road. San Diego County just got more of what it needs: money.

A half-million dollar grant will be used to monitor high-risk DUI offenders to see that they don’t drive while impaired again. The money comes from the California Office of Traffic Safety.

Monitoring – The Vital Link in DUI Prevention

Every state has anti-drunk driving laws, with punishments ranging from fines to community service to imprisonment. Every state has an ignition interlock requirement of some kind, and 30 states now give drunk driving offenders access to the devices after a first offense. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

Unfortunately, a punishment or other single measure often isn’t enough in the case of repeat drunk drivers. Many of them have severe alcohol or behavioral issues, which means that they’ll reoffend unless they are monitored. The best way is probably the sobriety court model, in which a case officer supervises the ignition interlock installation, monitors the data, and ensures that the offender gets proper treatment.

The grant to San Diego County will ensure that probation officers follow up on “intensive monitoring paired with treatment and counseling” with DUI offenders. That will include monitoring ignition interlock installation and monitoring.

While San Diego County does not mandate ignition interlocks for all offenses yet – that law will take effect in 2019 – it does employ them sometimes, and the new, better-funded probation efforts will be an important defense against drunk driving for the people of the county.

Probation Monitoring – Money Well Spent

The funds that go to ensure that DUI offenders comply with their counseling requirements are funds that keep many of those offenders out of prison. That’s a good deal for taxpayers. And the presence of fewer drunk drivers on the roads is a benefit to everyone. Our thanks to COTS. Let’s hope the success of the program is measured and noted, so that – eventually – such probation monitoring becomes an integral part of California’s DUI program.