A California state lawmaker has
renewed his push to require some motorists convicted of driving under the
influence in the state to wear a “Scarlet Letter,” of sorts.
Assemblyman Ray Haynes,
R-Murrieta, has reintroduced a bill that would allow judges to require certain
repeat drunken drivers to attach red license plates with the white letters “DUI” to their vehicles.
Supporters say it is needed to
help the public to know that the driver could be dangerous. Opponents say the
proposal would lead to unfair scrutiny and labeling of individuals.
The opposition view helped kill a
similar effort last month in the Assembly Public Safety Committee.
To make his legislation more
palatable, Haynes’ revised bill would permit judges to use their discretion on
whether the scarlet plates would be issued and for how long a convicted driver
would have to drive with a red plate.
The previous version would have
required offenders to keep the plates on their vehicles for two years, or for
the duration of the person’s probation period, whichever was longer, The Mercury News reported.
Another change to the bill would
require a red plate for anyone who has two previous convictions, but only if
one of those convictions was for driving under the influence at double the
California law now requires two-time DUI offenders face possible jail
time, fines and fees, alcohol-abuse treatment, license sanctions or
restrictions and community service.
The bill – AB406 – would add the
requirement that affected drivers pay $250 for the distinctive license plates
for each vehicle the person owns or leases. It is in the Senate Transportation
and Housing Committee.
According to The Sacramento Bee,
Haynes’ bill could apply to more than 30,000 drivers in California.
Similar provisions are in place in
Georgia and Minnesota use a special combination of numbers or
letters to identify motorists convicted of driving while intoxicated, while Ohio makes yellow plates with red numbers mandatory, The Associated Press reported.
In addition, Michigan uses paper
tags to identify repeat offenders, while Oregon and Washington put a zebra
sticker over the plate of habitual offenders.
Other states have debated similar
rules this year, including Florida, Louisiana and Maryland.