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Arizona Conviction for DUI Gets Your Name in the Paper

Bill would name DUI offenders in papers

 

By Howard Fischer

 

CAPITOL MEDIA SERVICES

 

PHOENIX - Hoping that embarrassment works where jail does not, a House panel voted unanimously Monday to set aside money to pay newspapers to run the names of drunken drivers.

 

The provision is part of broader legislation to re-establish and revamp a special council that divides up money that comes in from a $250 surcharge on all drunken-driving convictions.

 

HB 2184 spells out who is on the 12-member council. It also requires that 70 percent of the $1.4 million a year it gets goes to grants to local and tribal law enforcement agencies, with 20 percent for innovative programs designed to reduce drunken driving.

 

The final 10 percent is for administrative purposes - including, if the council wants, money to buy advertising space in newspapers around the state to list who has been convicted of driving drunk and their blood-alcohol content.

 

State lawmakers in the last few years have tightened up drunken-driving laws in several ways, both in reducing the amount of alcohol motorists can have in their systems and increasing the penalty for those convicted.

 

Rep. Linda Gray, R-Glendale, who introduced the legislation, said she thinks publication of the names may provide some deterrent to people driving drunk.

 

The idea drew the endorsement of Gary Johnson, a Mesa firefighter whose 41-year-old wife, Robin, was killed nearly two years ago by a drunken driver.

 

"The last thing responsible people with responsible jobs are going to want is to have their names printed in the paper with their blood-alcohol content," he said.

 

Proponents said that an informal survey of those convicted of DUI, done by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, shows that 50 percent of those who responded said they would not have gotten behind the wheel if they knew their names would wind up in the paper. The bill now goes to the House Appropriations Committee.

 

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