The San Diego County Probation Department will use a half-million dollar grant to keep high-risk DUI offenders from getting behind the wheel again.
Nationally, nearly one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders and 50 to 75 percent of convicted drivers continue to drive on a suspended license, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
A $535,111 grant to the San Diego County Probation Department from the California Office of Traffic Safety will help the department make sure high-risk, felony, and repeat DUI offenders are complying with all court orders. These offenders are over-represented in traffic crashes involving alcohol and other drugs, often with tragic results.
“The funding is vital to our efforts to reduce and try to stop alcohol- or drug-impaired driving by people who are have already been convicted of this offense,” said San Diego County Probation Chief Adolfo Gonzales. “Intensive monitoring paired with treatment and counseling are how we are tackling this serious threat to public safety.”
The grant will allow Probation Department personnel to intensely monitor drivers on probation for felony DUI or multiple misdemeanor DUI convictions, including conducting unannounced home searches and random alcohol and drug testing, special monitoring to ensure compliance with court-ordered DUI education and treatment programs, and ensuring that all officers in the program have standardized field sobriety testing certified training.
This grant puts special focus on high-risk repeat DUI offenders aimed at reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol and other drug related collisions in the county. From July 2014 to June 2015, 74 people were killed and 1,582 injured in such crashes in San Diego County according to the California Highway Patrol.
“Probation orders help ensure that these offenders are not a risk to themselves or others,” said Office of Traffic Safety Director Rhonda Craft. “By working on compliance, the San Diego County Probation Department, with assistance from the Office of Traffic Safety, will be helping keep the streets across San Diego County safe for all.”
The state agency recently launched a new awareness campaign called “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze,” to educate motorists about all of the substances that can lead to a DUI arrest. While alcohol remains the top source of intoxication for DUI crashes, prescription medications and marijuana by themselves or in combination with alcohol can also impair drivers.
Funding for the grant to Probation is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.