April 21, 2014 Mothers Against Drunk Driving is objecting to an abstinence-based proposal that would let judges order twice-daily breath tests instead of ignition interlock devices for repeat DUI offenders. But the head of the National Sheriffs’ Association says the “24/7 Sobriety” model is a better way of keeping drunken drivers off the road for good. MADD National Director Jan Withers on Friday asked Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, to reject the plan, which was approved by a House committee last week and is known elsewhere as “24/7 Sobriety.” “MADD believes that amendments allowing for twice a day testing or 24/7 sobriety programs are okay, but these programs should never replace the use of ignition interlock for a convicted drunk driver,” Withers wrote. Instead, MADD wants Florida lawmakers to expand the use of the interlock devices, which keep vehicles from starting if a driver is drunk, to first-time offenders whose blood-alcohol content is above .08. Current state law requires the devices for second- and third-time offenders as well as for those with a blood-alcohol content of .15 or greater. In a letter to Weatherford, Withers pointed out that 17,224 Florida residents were convicted in 2012 for driving with suspended licenses that were revoked because of previous DUIs, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Governor Jerry Brown made several appointments to the Department of Motor Vehicles this week, including the permanent appointment of acting director Jean Shimoto as Director. The Governor chose Hugo Lopez to serve as Chief Deputy Director, and Mike McGowan, a 21-year veteran Yolo County supervisor, to helm Strategic Planning and Policy. Finally, attorney David Harris was appointed Chief Counsel though like Ms. Shimoto, already had been serving in that capacity. Below, former DMV Director George Valverde is presented a resolution recognizing his years of public service.