About one in eight deaths in Americans between the ages of 20 and 64 can be attributed to alcohol. Some states are using creative programs in hopes of lowering that number. Some residents in Massachusetts are urging local and national lawmakers to consider 24/7 Sobriety programs based on their success in other states.
The first Sobriety 24/7 program was started for repeat drunk drivers in South Dakota. People sentenced to participate in the program receive a breathalyzer test twice daily in the sheriff’s office. They can also be sentenced to wear an ankle monitor and patches that collect sweat samples and submit to urine testing. Failing a test results in a night in jail but failing multiple tests can result in longer sentences. The success rate of stopping drunk driving was 99.6% during the first 13,000 participants.
A very similar program exists in Utah. Those arrested for drunk driving can be part of the program if they are eligible to have their driver’s license reinstated. Each participant tests at a county office twice daily. Those who cannot do that, for instance, if they are traveling, can wear a bracelet. The program is currently offered in select counties. Participants may also be urine tested. Each participant must pay minimum daily fees.
Participants in Wyoming can be sentenced to twice daily breathalyzer tests, even before their first drunk driving conviction. The ACLU has filed suit in Wyoming because they claim that the program violates participants’ Fourth, Eighth and 14th Amendment rights. They view the program as mini-arrests violating the person’s rights because failing the tests can lead to incarceration.
In some states, people arrested for drunk driving can participate in 24/7 programs. They must prove twice daily that they have no alcohol in their bloodstream.