Recently, the Nevada Senate unanimously passed Bill AB316, which will enact the Nevada 24/7 Sobriety and Drug Monitoring Program Act if signed by Governor Sisolak. The program is based on the “Sober 24” program currently being used in Washoe County. It requires some drug and alcohol offenders to undergo rigorous, long-term testing. Drug offenders will be given random drug tests at least twice a week, and DUI offenders will need to take a breathalyzer test twice a day, seven days a week, for a minimum of six months.
Washoe County’s 24/7 program began in 2016 and is modeled after a similar program in South Dakota. The program has already seen dramatic success: within the first year, DUI fatal accidents dropped from 24 to seven across the county. Joe Ingraham, Chief of the Washoe County Department of Alternative Sentencing, attributes this reduction to the program: “where I see the benefit of [the bill] is we can offer this program statewide because we know with our stats that this program works. It’s only one year of data but I feel certain that 24/7 Sober 24 had a hand in that.” Less than one in 10 participants in 24/7 Sober 24 reoffends within the first year, and 99 percent of the tests are successful.
Bill AB316 would implement the program throughout Nevada and permit DUI offenders to drive to court appearances, appointments, testing, and work on restricted licenses. Currently, approximately 85 percent of DUI offenders drive with a suspended license. Providing restricted licenses would allow offenders to move forward with their lives without risking the jail time that can result from driving with a suspended license.
While DUI deaths have been decreasing nationally, Reno and Sparks both listed among the nation’s top 25 cities for the highest number of DUIs in 2018. Individuals who choose to drive drunk in Nevada are not only endangering themselves and others, but also face hefty legal fees and fines, higher insurance rates, jail time, DUI classes, and license suspensions or restrictions.