If a California state lawmaker gets his way, good Samaritans could be rewarded for alerting law enforcement about possible drunk drivers.
California law defines driving under the influence of alcohol for motorists as having at least a 0.08 percent level of alcohol in the blood.
Sponsored by Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, the bill would provide $100 rewards for individuals who report seeing people behind the wheel after drinking one too many.
Do-gooders would stand to receive the monetary reward as long as the driver in question is convicted of the offense.
State funds would not be used to compensate the person making the report. Instead, convicted offenders would be responsible for paying the reward.
Calderon said that although alcohol-related crashes are down dramatically, there are still far too many drunken driving accidents. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, 791 people were killed in crashes caused by drunk drivers on California roadways a year ago.
“By engaging civilians to report drunk drivers, this bill would directly and immediately lower the number of roadway deaths,” Calderon said in a statement.
Opponents, including the California District Attorneys Association, say the bill raises questions about motives for reporting potential violators. They also note that a requirement for dispatchers to get a caller’s information could slow police response times.
The bill – SB1203 – is scheduled to be considered in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, May 24.
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