WEBER COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) One week after a bill is signed giving Utah the strictest DUI limits in the country, a sobriety pilot program is about to launch that will keep convicted drunk drivers from re-offending.
At the age of 22, Trevor Cook got his first DUI and lost his driver license for six months.
“It impacted all aspects of my life. I lost my career, i was the only one working when I was married and couldn’t afford to live,” Cook said.
Instead of restricting driving privileges, a new sobriety program piloted by the Weber County Sheriff’s Office allows offenders to keep their license, their job and stay out of jail, as long as they submit to twice-daily breathalizer tests.
If they don’t show or fail the test, they are immediately sent to jail and kicked out of the program.
“If there is just a problem with alcohol, we would rather you get the treatment, keep your employment, stay with your family, stay with the structure that is going to make you successful to deal with that problem,” Lt. Hutchinson said.
The 24/7 program mirrors similar strategies in two other states, where they saw a 70 percent drop in repeat DUIs and a 12 percent drop in overall drunk driving arrests.
If we can have half the success of Montana or South Dakota. it’s going to be tremendous for Utah.
If the 24/7 Program is successful, law enforcement leaders hope it will spread to other parts of the state.
Now four years sober, Cook believes the sobriety program will help those struggling with alcohol addition.
“Absolutely. The quality of life that you’d have, just to keep maintaining everything that you have. It is extremely beneficial,” Cook said, who now helps other recovering addicts at Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness in Salt Lake City.
Before the sobriety program could take effect, lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a bill allowing people with a DUI to keep their license if they are enrolled in the program.
It is expected to launch this summer.