SALT LAKE CITY — A new test program in Utah allows some people who have been convicted of multiple DUIs across the state to keep their driver’s license if they pass a series of sobriety tests given multiple times a day for a year, officials said.
The 24/7 Sobriety Program was created in July 2018 as a sentencing option with the intent to reduce fatalities and the number of repeat alcohol and drug offenders, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Sunday.
The program has been expanded from a handful of judges to all courts in Weber County after some participants found success, authorities said.
During the first-year pilot phase, more than 14,800 sobriety tests were administrated to 48 program participants, Weber County officials said. Of the 48 people, 32 are still being tested, eight completed the program, three flunked out and five were mistakenly entered and removed.
If a person is convicted of driving under the influence for a second time in Utah, they lose their license for two years, authorities said. A third conviction is a felony offense.
“When you lose your license, you lose your job. You lose, you know, your way of paying for all your fines and classes and everything,” said Randon Parker, one of the first eight to complete the program.
The sobriety program costs participants $30 to enroll and is $2 for each breath test, officials said. There are immediate jail time consequences if tests are failed, and multiple violations could lead to being resentenced by a judge. If a participant is kicked out of the program, the required two-year driver license suspension will begin without credit for time served in the program.
The program keeps the jail population down, doesn’t rely on taxpayer money because participants pay for their own tests and stops the typical DUI cycle of incarceration, proponents said.
If this year’s participants are successful, the program could be pitched across the state, authorities said.