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August 27, 2012

24/7 Sobriety Program Hits Milestone

HELENA – The Montana 24/7 Sobriety Program hit an important milestone this weekend: While not yet a year old, the program aimed at reducing repeat drunken driving has administered more than 100,000 portable breath tests to Montanans facing a second or subsequent DUI charge – and more than 99 percent of the tests are clean.

[confirmation]100,000 Breath Tests Administered; 99.7 Percent Come Back Clean.[/confirmation]

“This program is simple, effective and low-cost. It is working right now to keep repeat drunk drivers off our roads and to hold them accountable, while allowing them to still report to their jobs and take care of their families,” said Attorney General Steve Bullock. “And it doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime.”

Bullock worked with local law enforcement leaders and judges to start a pilot 24/7 Sobriety Project in Lewis and Clark County two years ago and, based on its success, urged the 2011 Legislature to approve its use statewide.

The 24/7 program was rolled out to a limited number of counties on October 1, 2011, with more counties gradually coming on board at the discretion of local sheriffs. Under the program, repeat DUI offenders come in to a central law enforcement site and take a breath test, twice a day, every day, between 7- 9 a.m. and 7-9 p.m.

Twenty sheriffs’ offices from the following counties are now participating – Anaconda-Deer Lodge, Beaverhead, Big Horn, Blaine, Broadwater, Butte-Silver Bow, Custer, Flathead, Gallatin, Granite, Jefferson, Lincoln, Lewis and Clark, Musselshell, Powell, Sanders, Sheridan, Stillwater, Sweet Grass and Yellowstone.

Offenders pay a minimal fee for each test so that offenders, not taxpayers, cover the cost of administering the program.

The 100,000th test came on Friday, little more than a week before Labor Day, the traditional end-of-summer holiday.