SLO County proposal on taxi DUIs becomes California law

September 29, 2016

DUIA bill setting a new blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for taxi and Uber drivers was signed into law Wednesday by California Gov. Jerry Brown. San Luis Obispo County prosecutor Lee Cunningham authored the bill, and Central Coast Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian carried the legislation.

The law, which will take effect July 1, 2018, affects taxi, Uber and Lyft drivers, as well as any other driver who carries passengers for hire. AB 2687 lowers the legal limit for those drivers from .08 to .04 when they are transporting passengers.

Cunningham, SLO County’s assistant district attorney, drafted the bill after the DA’s office prosecuted two similar DUI cases in 2015. One of the cases involved an Uber driver, and the other involved a taxi driver. Both the Uber and taxi drivers were carrying passengers when they were arrested.

“Passengers who put their trust in a driver hired through services like Lyft and Uber deserve to have a sober and safe driver and the protection of the law,” DA Dan Dow said in a statement. “We are thankful to Assemblyman Achadjian for his hard work on this bill, and also to Gov. Brown for signing this bill into law. Californians will be safer when this new law is implemented in 2018.”

California code has already set .04 as the legal limit for commercial drivers. However, until Achadjian’s bill takes effect, that regulation will not apply to taxi and Uber drivers.

For all other drivers over the age of 21, .08 is the legal limit. California law sets .05 as the limit for drivers under the age of 21.

However, under a separate DUI statute, drivers can be charged with DUI at the discretion of the officer, irrespective of BAC.

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How is someone under the age of 21 allowed to have a .05% BAC? Isn’t it illegal to drink under the age of 21? Therefor, shouldn’t it be illegal for anyone under 21 to drive a vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their systems?

This is 2016 and anything is possible. Next will be Cannabis aka marijuana! I will be driving my own car and to be honest, I just assumed that it would be a no brainer that if I am drinking and need a ride I would call a sober driver like a taxi or uber. WOW, this is enlightening!

There are lot’s of products out there that have alcohol in them that someone under 21 can get a hold of, legally. Cold meds, mouthwash, etc. Though .05% would mean chugging a lot of mouthwash to get there, but it has been done.

But blowing into a breathalyzer isn’t BAC test, it is an estimate of BAC that can return errant information. If I had just used mouthwash and then blew into a breathalyzer I believe it could return a false positive that one has exceeded the legal limit.

Zero tolerance, by defininition, takes things to the extreme, which would mean we’d needlessly pursue DUI charges for youths in circumstances where a person ability to drive was truly not impaired.

BTW–BAC is a joke as it is not an accurate measure of an individual’s impairment, but a generalization about impairment over a large population.

With the upcoming changes to the marijuana laws we should see many more citations of impairment via the other statute listed, as it should be. Let the cop make the call in the field as to my ability to drive and not leave it to some arbitrary threshold, like BAC, to determine one’s fate.

I would not characterize BAC as a joke although you are somewhat correct in it being not completely accurate. It is close enough to serve as a standard that people can reasonably understand. Your alternative opens the door to greater problems.

While most cops would likely be honest most of the time in evaluating impairment, one having a bad day could abuse it with someone giving him/her some backtalk. Worse yet are the few who are inclined to abuse their powers just because they enjoy bullying someone — often someone with darker skin color, unusual appearance or something else that makes them “different.” Until such LEOs are weeded out from the occupation, I am reluctant to permit such discretionary judgments by them.

Oh! my mistake… Mr. Cunningham was the author!

I like this bill. Good job Mr. Dow!

This seems dumb and like a no brainer. If someone is transporting me, no matter what the method of transportation, I want that person’s blood level to be zero for alcohol or drugs.

I would be black and white on this issue. No alcohol if you are a pilot, train operator, bus driver or any driver for hire.

or LEO?