In an attempt to lower the number of fatal DUI accidents Placer County police are rolling out a new program thanks to a $69,136 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety. The grant will be used by police to follow-up and check-in with felony DUI offenders as well as offenders with multiple DUI convictions.
Repeat DUI offenders are statistically more likely to cause a fatal DUI accident than any other driver. In 2010, over 60% of all fatal DUI crashes were committed by a driver with at least one prior DUI conviction. For this reason, police feel that making sure these offenders have learned their lesson and gotten the treatment they needed is a big step in lowering the number of fatal car accidents.
The grant will allow more police officers available to make sure offenders are following the guidelines of their probation and are attending alcohol education. The article also explains:
Supervision for these high-risk offenders will include unannounced home searches, random alcohol and drug testing and monitoring to ensure compliance with court-ordered DUI education and treatment programs.
Any program that encourages addicts to get the help that they need is a good idea. However, random home searches and drug testing could violate offenders' rights. Police should be properly trained and understand the terms of each person's probation before speaking to them. Also, police should not approach offenders while they are working or do anything to put their careers in jeopardy. Programs like this start out with good intentions, but can lead to overzealous police violating people's rights.
It will be interesting to see if this program lowers the number of fatal crashes in the next few years. In 2011 Placer County saw 5 deaths and 221 injuries due to DUI related car accidents. If these numbers see significant reduction, other counties in California may adopt similar programs as well.