SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – A bill passed today in the Utah Senate could decrease the amount of time a teen driver loses their license for a DUI conviction but even Mothers Against Drunk Driving says this proposed law is not more lenient
Under current law, Utah teens caught behind the wheel drinking and driving lose their license until the age of 21. But Senator Scott Jenkins says that doesn’t mean they aren’t on the roads anymore. “We have kids that are not complying with that, and so if we just say you can’t have your license then they say what the heck, I don’t get it, so why do I care about complying?”
So Jenkins, along with prosecutors and others in the community, crafted a new law, SB 28. They say it gives teens incentive to change. “We are trying to get these kids to not only comply; we are trying to get them into counseling programs so they understand the damage that is being done to each one of them individually.” The new law would take away the license for a minimum of two years, but allow teens to earn it back.
Under SB 28, teens would be required to take part in substance abuse treatment and education programs, perform alcohol screening assessments, and have no motor vehicle violations within the two year period. Mothers against drunk driving of Utah helped craft the bill. The President, Art Brown, says SB 28 sends a strong message to underage drinkers.
“You are coming off the road, and you are staying off the road, and you have to show us that you are alcohol free to get on the road. We are serious about you staying alcohol free until you are 21.”
The bill also revokes the licenses of teens that drink that aren’t driving. If they are caught consuming alcohol they lose their license for a year. Still, lawmakers say this is a compassionate law. Jenkins says â€œThis gives them a chance to try to get that license back, one time, so when they get out of school they can live a normal life and not do it again. For some kids, thatâ€™s a pretty big deal because you get out of high school and they are like, Iâ€™ve got three years to go, I canâ€™t drive. I have a hard time getting a job.”