Iowa Senate to Approve 24/7 Sobriety Program

The Iowa Senate approved SF 2190 to establish a 24/7 pilot program in counties throughout the state.  The hope is to reduce drunk driving fatalities that account for more than a third of all traffic fatalities in Iowa.  The 24/7 sobriety program is modeled after South Dakota’s successful project of the same name.  Participants are required to wear a SCRAM device 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the monitoring period.  The SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring device is a compact ankle bracelet that monitors alcohol consumption.  Low risk offenders have the option to take breath alcohol tests twice a day.

The SCRAM device holds participants accountable and requires complete sobriety.  In South Dakota saw a direct result with the reduction of DUI recidivism and repeat domestic violence offenses.  All but four of South Dakota’s 66 counties have a 24/7 sobriety program in operation.  North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska have also implemented versions of the program in an effort to reduce drunk driving fatalities and alcohol-related offenses.  13 other states are currently running pilot programs and four additional states are considering adding the program with SCRAM requirements.  The program has seen bipartisan support in the Iowa Senate.

The idea behind programs like 24/7 sobriety and others that have an alcohol-monitoring component are to address alcoholism.  It has been unsuccessful to focus on getting people to stop drinking and driving, the focus has to be on eliminating the drinking period.  SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring helps to achieve that goal by requiring complete sobriety.  There is no way to “cheat” the system.  The significant reduction in South Dakota’s alcohol-related fatalities since implementation of the program in 2005 is proof that this strategy is working, saving lives and making communities safer for everyone.