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New drunk driving program could be promising trend

While anti-drunk driving efforts have been in place for years, it seems like the issue is being addressed with more fervor than ever. In Connecticut and states around the country, DUI legislation is increasingly strict. Moreover, some zero-tolerance policies have set precedence for other courts and states to follow, as criminal defense attorneys voice concerns over the increasing infringement of defendants' rights in many cases. If proven successful, a new program may start a trend that promotes safety and addresses the needs repeat drunk driving offenders at the same time.

Washington is currently in the works of testing a pilot program aimed at curbing repeat DUI incidents while offering a more constructive alternative to prison sentences for some offenders. Proponents of the plan point out how defendants can benefit from participating in the program because it may provide the structure and accountability needed to successfully address their drinking problems. 

Right now the plan is only being implemented in a limited number of cities and counties around the state, but it is already showing signs of progress. As one authority noted, taking the type of steps promoted in the pilot program yield a high success rate, possibly because the majority of participants are personally invested in completing the plan.

As an alternative to serving a prison term, some repeat offenders are given the option of participating in continuous monitoring for alcohol consumption. Several types of technology can be used to test participants' blood alcohol levels throughout the day, helping to ensure they don't drive drunk.

Given that failure to complete the program may result in a prison sentence, participants must actively comply with the terms of the sobriety agreement. If effective, similar measures may soon be considered around the country.

Source: king5.com, "Ankle bracelets, in-home breathalyzers part of new DUI law," Drew Mikkelsen, July 19, 2013