Governor signs Houston's drunken driver bill | July 18, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - July 18, 2008

Governor signs Houston's drunken driver bill

Law mandates treatment program for repeat offenders

State Assemblyman Guy Houston (R., San Ramon) announced Monday that Gov. Schwarzenegger signed his Assembly Bill 2802, which requires a person convicted of a "wet and reckless" offense, who has a prior drunken driving conviction in the past 10 years, to participate in a nine-month treatment program at their own expense. The treatment program includes education, group counseling and individual counseling.

Current law permits many people who are arrested of drunken driving to plead to a wet and reckless conviction, which carries far fewer penalties than a DUI conviction, even though they are both the result of driving under the influence. Current law does not require those convicted of a wet and reckless to take any alcohol treatment classes.

"When someone shows a pattern of driving after drinking alcohol, it's clear that they need treatment," said Houston. "My bill closes a loophole and requires that any person convicted of driving while intoxicated more than once must get treatment - no matter what the judge calls the crime."

Every year in California, 200,000 people are arrested for driving under the influence. Seven percent of these people will re-offend within the year and more than 30 percent of those convicted will re-offend within seven to 10 years. There are nearly 2,000 deaths, and more than 31,000 people injured in DUI-related collisions each year.

--Staff reports