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Tough New California Law Targets Habitual Drunk Drivers

SACRAMENTO (KCBS) - Gov. Schwarzenegger signed legislation this week that would revoke the driver's license of anybody repeatedly caught driving under the influence in California.

Chronic drunk drivers could lose their license for ten years, when the law goes into effect January 1, 2012.

KCBS Melissa Culross Reporting:

Assemblyman Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) was inspired to draft the legislation after a disturbing incident in his district.

"There was a news article last November that indicated that a person just received their ninth DUI," he recalled. "Their eighth DUI was about four years ago and it got me thinking how could someone keep getting these DUIs and keep getting their license back?"

Currently, motorists with three DUI convictions faced license revocation for three years. Hill's legislation was drafted to give judges the option of revoking a habitual drunk driver's license for much longer.

"This legislation is an important step towards making California's roads safer," added the governor's spokeswoman, Andrea McCarthy. "It has the potential to take more repeat DUI offenders off the road for longer periods of time and the governor's in favor of that."

According to McCarthy, there was little question about whether the governor would sign the bill.

"He did indicate his support early for the legislation," she said. "Typically he waits until a bill is in its final form but he indicated his support early on for this legislation."

Of the nearly 188,000 DUI convictions reported by the Department of Motor Vehicles in 2008, more than 9,000 were repeat offenders.

"This is a great opportunity and a great way that we can potentially save lives in California," declared Hill. "We could take 10,000 repeat DUI offenders off the road every year."

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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