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Casual Drinkers, Hardcore Alcoholics All To Blame For DUI Deaths And Injuries, Officials Say

Tuesday the Riverside County Board of Supervisors tackled the issue of driving under the influence.

One by one, the five Riverside County supervisors stood Tuesday afternoon during their regularly scheduled meeting and read aloud pieces of a proclamation announcing that December 2012 is “National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month” in the county.

The program is intended to remind casual, social drinkers that they are part of the driving-under-the-influence problem.

The county’s Department of Mental Health put the issue before the board, and the department’s director, Jerry A. Wengerd, told the supervisors the program is targeted at those who “have one or two and then go on the road.”

“Many drivers may be unaware their driving abilities can be seriously impaired by the use of alcohol and drugs even though their blood alcohol levels register below California Driving Under the Influence Standards,” according to documents presented to the board Tuesday.

The prevention month campaign was first conceived under former president Ronald Reagan in 1982, Wengerd said.

No county funding is being proposed for the December campaign, according to the county documents. As part of the program, the county's mental health department is working with residents, law enforcement and schools to raise awareness about the dangers of driving under the influence.

But during Tuesday’s meeting, the supervisors directed the Executive Office to also dig into the county budget to see if there are funds available to support an alcohol-monitoring program that has proven successful in keeping hardcore DUI offenders from causing trouble.

At the urging of Supervisor Jeff Stone, the county will attempt to find money to assist indigent defendants convicted of driving under the influence who utilize the "Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring" -- or SCRAM -- program.

County officials said there is a $2,200 balance in a fund set up for DUI offenders who can't afford enrollment in the program. In 2009, the Board of Supervisors allocated $50,000 to shore it up. Stone today asked that fellow supervisors withdraw discretionary money from their individual community improvement budgets to again ensure the program's longevity.

"SCRAM has a 93 percent success rate," said Stone, who strongly advocated the program's implementation by the courts in 2008. "These are offenders who do not recidivate."

SCRAM devices, which are ankle-mounted, can detect alcohol consumption by measuring the content of a person's perspiration. A DUI offender who agrees to wear the eight-ounce bracelet as part of his or her probation must keep it on for anywhere from three to 12 months.

Sensors can pick up a blood-alcohol level of .02 or above. The devices have tamper detection systems that reveal when an offender is trying to inhibit or remove them, according to Littleton, Colo.-based Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc., which developed the SCRAM technology.

Leaders in Community Alternatives Inc., headquartered in San Francisco, oversees the SCRAM program in Riverside County. LCA President Linda Connelly told the board that over the last three years, 1,000 DUI offenders countywide had completed the program.

"Our clients are hardcore alcoholics," Connelly said. "They can do jail standing on their head. Unless they're held accountable and made to stop drinking, this (alcohol addiction) problem will continue."

SCRAM users are charged according to a sliding scale based on the person's income and other factors. LCA needs $12 a day to cover the costs associated with outfitting each convict.

Stone said SCRAM helps keep offenders out of already-overcrowded local jails. The sheriff's department is on track to "kick out" 7,000 low-level inmates this year. The early releases are a result of a federal court decree that all cell occupants have a bed. When beds aren't available, sheriff's officials must decide who can be released onto the street at the least risk to public safety.

"Let's reserve jail space for the most violent offenders in the county," Stone said.

Supervisor John Benoit questioned whether he had the funds available in his community budget to allocate to the  SCRAM program, prompting county CEO Jay Orr to vow to look at alternative funding within the 2012-13 budget.

"This is desperately needed," Orr said.

The board directed the Executive Office to come back in two weeks with a report on what general fund money, if any, is available for the program. --City News Service contributed to this report

Phil M November 28, 2012 at 09:43 PM
I wish we would come up with a program to help keep drunk driving off the road. Most of the time we know where they are. They are at the bar, but our police cannot sit there since this is considered entrapment. It a problem if we really wanted to fix we could. But we have handcuffed ourselves. ________________________________________ Find a Career College near you, www.americolleges.com
Frankie November 28, 2012 at 10:07 PM
I thought i red somewhere that cell phone use texting and talking caused more accidents then drunk drivers.
BLUESGUITAR777 November 28, 2012 at 10:46 PM
"Frankie 2:08 pm on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 I thought i red somewhere that cell phone use texting and talking caused more accidents then drunk drivers." Not true. You blue it.
Brenda November 29, 2012 at 03:13 AM
You are right Phil. We need to change the laws, and the punishments. A drunk can drive down the block, smack into a family of 5, killing them all, but an officer sits outside a spot where most drivers leave a bar, pulls one over who is drunk, and its entrapment. Heck an officer happens to pull a drunk over within a mile of there and they will scream entrapment STILL. It needs to be black and white, no damn gray. Our country is jacked up enough from all the grays cause no one wants to take a firm stand on anything. First we need to get rid of the word entrapment as a defense. Give me a break, only those guilty scream that. IF you did the crime, end of discussion. Stand up, be a man, woman, I did it, punish me. Dont bring politics into it as an arguement here or the drunks "rights". This has to do with saving lives and preventing injuries, damages to property. If you are innocent then plead that, if you arent, then do guilty, work out your sentence and be done with it. It took one second to kill. Someone in a thread wrote something like 75% out of 100 traffic collisions have nothing to do with alcohol and he/she didnt seem to think that was bad. THAT IS HORRIBLE. Think of the zillion other possibilities that make up the 75% right? Didnt parents teach everyone wrong from right? And to take what is coming to you when you do wrong? That was the way I was raised. Dont bellyache, stand up to the plate. Shame on drunks, all criminals.
Brenda November 29, 2012 at 03:25 AM
And Frankie we need to get those off the road, out of the cars also because I am sure you may be right. Also wanted to say in response to this: "County officials said there is a $2,200 balance in a fund set up for DUI offenders who can't afford enrollment in the program. In 2009, the Board of Supervisors allocated $50,000 to shore it up. Stone today asked that fellow supervisors withdraw discretionary money from their individual community improvement budgets to again ensure the program's longevity" Stone I would suggest that everyone making over 100k in City and County offices have a percentage taken out of each months pay to contribute to this fund. As they all some how got voted such nice wonderful salaries over the years by ya'all I think that is fair. Think they could also donate towards some halfway houses, drug rehab facilities, Elderly help with utilities and food, travel, a few more police officers out in the field(we sure dont need anymore City and County workers with those salaries, rather have law enforcement)to curtail the drunk driving, etc. etc. Someone who has that list of salaries, number of employees should figure how much our county and City could bank with those salaries cut a min. of 20% Stat. This statement, made from the same people that make these ridiculous salaries to suggest a trickle of money like that? Im sick to my stomach while you eat your Tbone with the best wines Stone. You need to see a few victims of drunk drivers.
TVOR November 29, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Phil, take your damn advertisements somewhere else. This is not an appropriate place for them.
Reverend Smith November 29, 2012 at 08:03 AM
I think most of the accidents caused by texting/talking are low speed fender benders where some airhead doesn't notice the big rig in front of them has put on the brakes at 10 MPH and they plow into it. With drunk drivers, they are oblivious to things like the speedometer, slowing for corners, turning on the healights etc. And they are more prone to become aggressive and road rage on someone. So the accidents caused by drunk driving, even if they are of the same number as distraction by phone, are more likely to be more deadly.
5150 November 29, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Simple- DUI should be a permanent loss of a drivers license period. Make the law harsher man, Cmon Man!!
Galactic Cannibal November 29, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Here we go again. With the bureaucrats doing their best to control and condition the masses. To believe the DUI is the problem Remember that 72% of all fatal road accidents do not involve DUI. No alcohol was related to drivers.. So let the bureaucrats go after the 28% of DUI's . That is good, but ignoring the majority of road killers the 72% is not good..
Entitlement Queen November 29, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Come on! I drive better at .08 than Granny B does sober! The DUI laws are just BS cover to make us falsely feel safe!
Galactic Cannibal November 29, 2012 at 08:43 PM
I drive a very fast car. Doing 100 mph is no big deal . Except in the "land of the free" where it is illegal (breaking the law). So its a breath of fresh air, to drive on the Autobahns where, if you can handle speed, cruising at 120 mph is common. And it gets exiting when you crank it up to 160 mph.The German police don't bother you. Then back home you have to suffer the millions of geriatric drivers who constantly block all lanes in their 55-70 mph comatose state. And they will not move over to let you pass. The dirty looks I get when I accelerated from 70 mph to 100 mph +. Like I said before 72% of fatal accidents on our roads and freeways. are committed by drivers who are not DUI, but are unqualified to drive a vehicle in the first place. Watch out for those drivers who drive in the center lanes at 55 to 60 mph and wear gold rim glasses. As for the senior citizens , most of them can be a killer menace, when behind the wheel of any vehicle. and they are not DUI , 99 % of the time.. They just can't drive safety skillfully. I never drink and drive , but the crap flooding the media about DUI drivers being the problem is just that, crap. The DUI's are 28% of the problem and that is a fact. Try going after the 72% who are not DUI's, but they kill the vast majority.
Brenda November 29, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Rev Smith you are probably right. I pass people texting and they are usually going slower and swerving left to right as I pass them honking and screaming@!!!! Idiots looking down into their laps.
Brenda November 29, 2012 at 10:13 PM
True 5150, as I saw, change the guidelines to arrest and the punishment and a light hearted drinker will think twice, or I hope any kind of drinker does. Gal Cann, why do you always think it has to do with with politics and bureaucrats? Dont you get it has to do with saving lives, and punishing those who kill them? Why do you go so far out there on this that is so simple. Well maybe to me it is. I dont think there is any huge corruption thing going on just that we want to stop drunk driving, can you understand that? I am a simpleton in this, it has nothing to do with government or bureaucrats to me, dems or reps or any other color chair. I am sick and tired of seeing dead bodies everyday in the morning news being scrapped up off our pavement we drive on everyday.
Brenda November 29, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Damn you Steve Newman, whoever the hell you are, why in the world do you bash my posts occasionally when WE AGREE most of the time in our posts??? You moron you say my words and post before I can. GROWL, but if I saw it first I am then name called. You Sir are a terd.
Galactic Cannibal November 29, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Dude, "They don't want your crap here."..Have you proof of that. dude. Next time you visit a Costco or a MALL , check out the number of Americans who drive German..like BMW, Mercedes, VW, Porsche, Seems like Americans who can afford "the crap you refer to" will buy the German vehicles any time. But owning a BMW or a Porsche in the USA, is a total waste, and under-use of fast driving machines. The Laws of the Autobahn are just laws . As are the Laws of the US Freeway. One is a slow snail pace law the other is a fast cheetah pace law. Neither is wrong, or neither is right. There a many drivers like me who have fits, trying to negotiate the freeways here Where lanes get blocked by drivers who know nothing about efficient . These drivers remind me of the New Zealand sheep, all following in a flock .
Galactic Cannibal November 29, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Dude ..Steve Newman , Other , cars that are a total waste to drive in the USA.because of the restricted speed laws, are: Ferrari, Lamborghini , Aston Martin. ,you can't get them out of 3rd. gear. But they are great for ego, show-off etc. So give one logical reason why a portion of the US Freeway system has no speed limit ??? These fast European cars are very safe , and built to handle high speeds. Driving from San Diego across empty desert freeway to Vegas ,is an ideal stretch for the German speed cars. But once again our snail pace Laws apply. How pathetic is that.
Brenda November 29, 2012 at 11:20 PM
***Cough*** Ah saw a City Council members "son, teenage" plow down our street in the middle of the night in his lifted truck, hit the house at the end of the kind of invisible culdesac if you are going fast head on. Was sitting in the living room of the house when the cops came, Daddy came, ambulance came, checked the kid out. Evidently he was ok, everyone slapped everyone on the back, kid got in the car with Dad and off to la la land they went. Never heard another word in the paper, from the people who owned the house, nada. So yep it happens if you know someone, or have those snazzy plates who gets the first phone calls.
Galactic Cannibal November 29, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Dude ..Steve Newman , Other , cars that are a total waste to drive in the USA.because of the restricted speed laws, are: Ferrari, Lamborghini , Aston Martin. ,you can't get them out of 3rd. gear. But they are great for ego, show-off etc. So give one logical reason why a portion of the US Freeway system should not have a NO SPEED LIMIT zone. ??? These fast European cars are very safe , and built to handle high speeds. Driving from San Diego across the empty desert freeway to Vegas ,is an ideal stretch for the German speed cars. But once again our snail pace Laws apply. How pathetic is that.
Brenda November 29, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Queen, perhaps because you think living with a minimum amount of alcohol in your system you dont even feel it. Like someone addicted to drugs etc. they keep needing more and more cause it doesnt work? I dont know how that works with alcohol because I have never been much of a drinker because of the lack of control it made me feel. But you go right a'head Queen, drink and drive and I pray that when your car comes to rest with that .08 that there is no one under the wheels. :/ By the way, I love the name Granny B and if I believed in changing names I would change my name to that in a flash!!! :)
Brenda November 29, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Gal I am glad to hear you do not drink and drive but driving those types of speed here in our big city freeways is just not going to ever work. Now I think that out on many of our long highways, hind site is 20/20 we could have had lanes that went faster, but seriously, who is in that much of a hurry? Who has cars that can hold up to those speeds for that amount of time and for that matter the drivers. The faster you go the more cautious and aware you need to be. Obviously if people get killed constantly on our streets and freeway section in Temecula on a daily basis, we sure cannot run an autobans and not have it look like a bomb was dropped for godsake. Some of us for one reason or another have the ability to drive that fast, most others do not. Being born into a racing family, I have been in some pretty fast race cars, trucks on all types of race tracks and even the pro's have been known to make some serious mistakes and kill other drivers or a bunch of spectators from lack of control.
BLUESGUITAR777 November 30, 2012 at 12:16 AM
It's been my experience that the worst drivers are those of German cars (ie BMW, Mercedes, etc). I don't know what it is, ego or something, that makes you think it's okay to drive recklessly and dangerously. Obey the law of the land and slow it down.
Brenda November 30, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Bite me, terd, yes really, just so you could spell check me. Silliness.
Brenda November 30, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Gal Cann, In my last post I agreed with you somewhat. That would have been an ideal place to put such a thing as an autoban, San Diego to Vegas, and then many other long haul stretches. But it wasnt done and now it would be out of the USA's means, especially with starving families in our wonderful country. I understand the need for speed, well I used to, so take it to Laguna Seca and have it once a month :) Or more Vacations to Europe? You live here and this article is all really about drinking and driving, dead bodies, not the speed limits or how fast someones car can go right?
Brenda November 30, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Blues its all about the LAWS. Some people, and posters here believe its all political, the "man" ruling helmets, speeds, cars etc. The protest laws in the land of the free in general. Others like me, just look for anyway to get drunks off the road. Nothing whatsoever political to it, just saving lives, bettering the laws and enforcing punishment worthy of the crime.
Constant Comment November 30, 2012 at 01:23 AM
What is the difference between a Porsche and a porcupine? With a porcupine....the pricks are on the outside! }~)
Brenda November 30, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Rofl, Muhahahahah
Brenda November 30, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Ok, so I might be speechless <<<<<
JJ Mclure November 30, 2012 at 01:56 PM
get rid of the illegals and DUI will drop
Brenda December 01, 2012 at 12:47 AM
You kids are funny. So much nicer then being mean and name calling :()~~~
Brenda December 01, 2012 at 12:48 AM
:X

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