SACRAMENTO – Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) introduced a bill to bolster the state’s efforts to prevent drunk driving. The bill would increase the reach of the California Highway Patrol’s Designated Driver Program, which provides education and outreach to help prevent drunk driving.
“Drunk driving and related accidents, injuries and deaths are sadly too common,” said Senator Dodd. “We need to continue advancing policies that keep impaired individuals from getting behind the wheel. By increasing the reach of the state’s designated driver program, we’re working to help prevent drunk driving and ultimately save lives.”
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 CHP to develop and implement new strategies and technologies to combat the problem of driving under the influence.
“Auto crashes kill more than 30,000 Americans every year, with almost one-third of those deaths related to drunken driving. We can prevent many needless deaths by raising awareness about this problem, and that’s an effort AAA is proud to support,” said John Moreno, Manager of Public Affairs for AAA Northern California. “The pain of losing a loved one because of the negligence of a drunken driver is something no family should experience, and I’d like to thank Senator Dodd for helping to bring awareness to this issue and for supporting traffic safety in California.”
Dodd’s bill, SB 973, would double the funding available to the program by increasing the annual five dollar 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 is expected to be heard in committee in March.
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.