SLO County proposal on taxi DUIs becomes California law
September 29, 2016
A 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.