The latest effort to crack down on repeat drunken drivers holds promise.
Beginning this fall, Douglas County law enforcement authorities will take part in a pilot program that requires repeat offenders to prove they are sober, twice a day, by taking tests of their blood-alcohol levels. Failing a test means jail. Skipping a test brings an arrest warrant.
The tough approach, called the 24/7 sobriety program, was developed by a former South Dakota attorney general and has shown results there. Some 30,700 South Dakotans have been referred to the program, taking 6.29 million tests with a failure rate of less than 1 percent, state officials say. A Rand Corp. study found a 12 percent drop in repeat DUI cases.
Nebraska has taken a number of steps to keep drunks off the roads, including expanded use of ignition interlocks and allowing courts to consider a drunken driver’s previous offenses from over a longer period of time. This new tool could prove a valuable addition to the effort to save lives.