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Sobriety program could reduce license suspensions for DUIs

By Ryan Morgan | Posted - Mar. 1, 2017 at 7:09 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — Lawmakers voted in unanimous support of a bill to allow motorists who get a DUI to keep their licenses through a new driver sobriety program.

HB250, sponsored by Rep. Justin Fawson, R-North Ogden, would allow people convicted of driving under the influence to receive a reduced license suspension through participation in a court-ordered sobriety program.

The program would allow participants to take a breathalyzer test twice a day to prove their sobriety and maintain access to a driver's license.

Fawson said the program would reduce an impact to repeat offenses by incentivizing drivers to keep their licenses by continually proving their sobriety.

The cost for tests would be funded by the participants, he said, with each costing between $6 and $10. Fawson said the cost may seem high but is far cheaper than similar sobriety programs such as an interlock device.

The bill emulates a similar DUI program in Montana, he said.

"There has been a significant impact that this program has had on (Montana's) DUI rates and recidivism," Fawson said.

Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, praised the bill.

"We can punish the DUIs or we can actually change behaviors," Ray said, "and this bill, the 24/7 program changes behaviors."

Fawson said the court would be allowed to make the judgment on access to the sobriety program.

Kim Gibb, of the Utah Department of Public Safety, said the court would be allowed to reinstate the DUI license suspension for those who refused to submit a breathalyzer test.

The House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee voted to move the bill forward to general discussion on the House floor. Email: rmorgan@deseretnews.com

Ryan Morgan

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