The Water Cooler – A Special License Plate for Drunk Drivers

August 11, 2014 12:00 pm · 73 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it!

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon!

Today’s question:

If a person has two or more DUI convictions, would you be in a favor of a law that makes them have a special license plate on their vehicle identifying them as a repeat drunk driving offender?

Talk about it….

Chris August 11, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Sure, they could hang in off their bicycle seat, since they shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a car!

concordkiwi August 11, 2014 at 12:06 PM

They could just drive another car with a regular plate

The Cold Soldier August 11, 2014 at 12:06 PM

I’m for it! Should be an added incentive to avoid driving drunk if one of the consequences is a form of public shaming like that, similar to what sex offenders go through when they move to a new neighborhood. Also, other drivers can give them a wide berth when they spot the plate on the road.

I'm The Urban Spaceman August 11, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Sounds good for the rest of us.

¿Will it hold up Constitutionally?

Gargoyle Socks August 11, 2014 at 12:10 PM

No. The car wasn’t drunk, the driver was. What would keep the person from just driving the spouse’s car or a friends car? What purpose would be served other than shaming the person. Besides, didn’t society already try the scarlet letter and didn’t find it very effective?

Nutcreek Frontier August 11, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Great idea! That way we can avoid repeat offenders on the road. There should be a provision if you go, say 10 years without any more offenses, then you can have the license plate removed.

tam August 11, 2014 at 12:13 PM

I think that’s a great idea actually! But, would they end up pulled over more often then most, because cops would assume they are drunk?

Anon777 August 11, 2014 at 12:14 PM

I’m not against it (yet), but what would you do when you saw this on the road…..pull over and get off the road for a few minutes thinking they are drunk again? Shame them somehow? Throw rocks? LOL

Somehow I don’t see this as working as 1) they won’t be driving for a while anyway; 2) do they even own a car to make them use the shame plate; 3) who’s gonna pay cuz you know the criminal won’t; 4) what if there are two registered owners and only one has DUI’s. Too many unknowns and feel that our world is so jacked up already, we’d probably have death threats against the people driving the car (who may or may not even be the person with the DUI!!).

Concordejet August 11, 2014 at 12:14 PM

special license plate should be

16 years old drivers.
Wreckless drivers.
Drivers without insurance
Drivers without license
Old crazy people drivers.
pot smoker drivers.

Atticus Thraxx August 11, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Two or more DUI’s and you shouldn’t be driving at all.

Really ? August 11, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Think of the police manpower that would be wasted as bogus calls to police are made. Police are already aware of vehicles driven by convicted drunk drivers. Buy a used car driven by a convicted drunk driver and you will find out first hand. You will be repeatedly pulled over until word circulates car has changed hands.

Threat of incarceration was been greatly reduced when democrats passed AB-109 in 2011, changed sentencing mandates on 500 crimes causing overcrowding of County Jails all over the State. Law also mandates sentences be automatically cut in half.

YOU trusted them, elected them and then didn’t watch what they did.

instagramma August 11, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Why not? I think its a good idea.

KateC August 11, 2014 at 12:18 PM

wow – isn’t that sort of like the Scarlet Letter? I’d vote NO. Wouldn’t do any good anyway – they would just drive a car belonging to someone else.

YES! YES! YES! August 11, 2014 at 12:19 PM

That would be wonderful. Some bright annoying color too. If they are dumb enough to repeat the crime, then they should be called out.

Mr. John August 11, 2014 at 12:20 PM

No. Too lenient. They should not have a license or be allowed to own a car.

Would never work August 11, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Couldn’t work- they could lend their car to a relative or friend and then it wouldn’t make sense. In same manner, they could borrow a relative or friends car or even rent one- then how would you know?

It’s similar to the issue with the handicapped plates on cars that are driven by friends and relatives who are not handicapped- but that is a best case scenarios for those cheaters cuz they park close snd free with no ramifications

Tipsy McStagger August 11, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Makes good common sense but not good legal sense. While it would alert police and other motorists to be extra alert, we haven’t done scarlet letters for a while. How about a red antenna ball if you have two parking tickets? Or two speeding tickets? How about a lawn sign for anyone that owes back taxes?

Enfield303 August 11, 2014 at 12:28 PM

If they get two or more DUIs they shouldn’t be allowed to drive at all. They apparently didn’t learn the first time and never will.

Justin August 11, 2014 at 12:28 PM

They shouldn’t even be allowed to have a license/car.

CalOldBlue August 11, 2014 at 12:30 PM

The vehicle is not the driver. What is the purpose here? Public shame? Public and/or police awareness?

What if the car is a family car, used by the spouse and/or children of the person with the DUIs? We OK with publicly tagging them with an offense they did not commit?

What if this person borrows or rents a car? No identifying plates.

Whatever the problem being solved, this isn’t the solution.

OverWhelmed August 11, 2014 at 12:31 PM

I would be for a law that says anyone convicted of two or more DUI’s will go to jail for a year or more. Just because they have license plate that says they have DUI’s do you really think it will stop them from drinking and driving? NOT!

Tom August 11, 2014 at 12:37 PM

No, because it would be ineffectual, and I don’t believe in public shaming.

I agree with Atticus. They shouldn’t be driving at all.

SKS August 11, 2014 at 12:40 PM

… every person infected with HIV should have to wear a red “H”.
… every paroled felon or person anyone on probation should have to wear an orange “F”.
.. every person with a DUI conviction within the last year should have to wear a DUI label on their clothing in public.

It’s for public safety, right?


Walnut Creek Resident August 11, 2014 at 12:42 PM

They shouldn’t have any license because they should not be driving!

Concord Guy August 11, 2014 at 12:46 PM

The Scarlet Letter

BagsFlyFree August 11, 2014 at 12:47 PM

DUI’s are a cash cow for suburbia, and will continue to be villified while we flood our TV’s, computers, and billboards with the next cool drink.. “Enjoy our 80 proof tequila, look at the pretty ladies, but…… Enjoy Responsibly” (one drink per hour based on body weight and food consumption).

The solution for DUI’s is in the hands of a few parties. Stop the ads, enhance public transportation, and make cities more walkable to drinking destinations. DUI penalties should directly feed to discounted transportation during evening hours when DUI’s occur most. If I had to only pay $10 to get to WC from my place i’d pay that in an instant. Paying $25+ each way is a little different for regular trips.

We as a society need to get over the checkpoint mentality, and use those funds to solve the issue at the source.. Getting people to/from places in a cheap and efficient manner to avoid injury and property damage.

BFF Out!

The Mamba August 11, 2014 at 12:49 PM

They should have one of those breathalizer ignition switches installed in their car.

Random Task August 11, 2014 at 1:03 PM

no license at all …….minimum 5 years if operating a vehicle ……oh wait the dems just let em out with a slap anyways ……nice voting …..enjoy

Who thought of this???? August 11, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Lame- can’t work. Don’t you know you can register a car in anyone’s name but still be the owner?

@#1 August 11, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Exactly, why are they being allowed to drive at all?

Dry August 11, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Jail time, a lot more with each conviction.

Michelle August 11, 2014 at 1:09 PM

After two DUIs, they should have their license revoked permanently!

Pyrrhus August 11, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Good idea, but not practical. What stops the person from using another car? How about if they need to rent a car? Should we really shame an entire family for something a single family member did?

just a concordian August 11, 2014 at 1:19 PM

There are several degrees of DUI. A .08 for a 200 lbs person won’t affect his/her driving too much but it is still illegal. Crashing a car while intoxicated carries a much harsher punishment, at least in theory and depending on the lawyer.

What we need is a device that comes up as soon as the person sits down and buckles up that measures his blood alcohol level. If the seatbelt is removed when the car is going less than 30 mp, the car shuts off and does not start for 12 hours. Of course I can dream…

anonanonagain August 11, 2014 at 1:22 PM

It wouldn’t work. Drunkards that already have repeated DUI’s continue to drive, only they use someone else’s car. Even if you take their driving privileges away they seem to always be back behind a wheel of a car. How about having something printed on their driving license, so that way when they buy more booze they can shrink away in shame? 🙂

ex-californian August 11, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Minnesota’s had this for years, going back to at least the ’80s. After a certain number of DUI convictions, your plates are confiscated, and you’re issued a set of very-plain-looking (compared to regular-issue ) license plates. Get caught driving a car with regular plates, and you’re in big trouble.

Have a look at: (These special plates–the “Whiskey” plates, as sone people call them–are on the last page. )

Moneypenny August 11, 2014 at 1:32 PM

@ BagsFlyFree, I agree that transportation should be readily available and more affordable, but the problem isn’t being able to drink and get drunk (you sound like you are in your partying years), the problem is that many repeat DUI’s are alcoholics who can’t control their drinking day or night. Many are usually drunk by the middle of the day. I know this because my uncle was an alcoholic who was at a bar by 10 am. No amount of cajoling, pleading, hiding the keys could sop him from driving. He was lucky he didn’t kill anyone……

MADD August 11, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Why would he/she/it be driving at all?
Repeat offenders should not be given a 3rd, 4th, 5th… chance. I don’t want someone close to me dying before drunks are off the road!
Helloooooo Bonilla and DeSaulnier?

Marianne August 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM

That is really interesting! California needs to get on-board with that. I like the license plates that require a yearly fee, it’s just Genius! It’s just added to your registration fees every year which is an added bonus for the state. Does California have this?

green August 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM

What a stupid post!

Since there may be more than one person driving the car, why stigmatize him or her? Why stigmatize any kids in the car riding with the driver or put them at any risk? When is enough punishment enough?

Penalty August 11, 2014 at 1:50 PM

In Hawaii, one DUI requires the breathalyzer interlock on you car for a year.
IMHO, if you are caught driving with any alcohol in your system because someone else blew into for you, heavy fine and no drivers license for 3 years should work well. After that jail time.

Penalty August 11, 2014 at 1:51 PM

Remember one thing, you can get a DUI at .05

Pegasus August 11, 2014 at 1:54 PM

Maybe we could make them wear an identifying patch on their clothes and tattoo a number on their arm.

Always Right August 11, 2014 at 2:02 PM

2 DUI convictions should merit jail time and a 10 year suspension of driving privileges.

marinemom August 11, 2014 at 2:14 PM

They shouldn’t be driving at all.

Darwin August 11, 2014 at 2:19 PM

This is California, that would be offensive to the repeat offender and therefore, would not fly…

tired of taxes August 11, 2014 at 2:19 PM

As others have already mentioned, I would be in favor of a law to revoke their license and ban them from driving for life.
Why should we even let drunks get behind the wheel?
Or if they want to get into a moving vehicle, just give them a license for a 2-wheel vehicle (motorcycle/motorbike); if ever they’re drunk again, they won’t get too far on two wheels. If they do get on the freeway inebriated, it will be their last accident.

DontAgree August 11, 2014 at 2:26 PM

No. I don’t agree. License plates are too transferrable and temporary.

Better to post their pictures on a website for public viewing.

Bishop Estates August 11, 2014 at 2:28 PM

They shouldn’t have a license if they are a repeat offender.

Blink August 11, 2014 at 2:29 PM

DUI are bad but texting in this decades disaster
Accidents while texting should ding insurance and lic same, records public

Repeat DUI are they driving? Legally?

Even while some people have August 11, 2014 at 2:59 PM

broken many laws and are not allowed to have drivers licenses, they still find a way to drive. Its really not all that hard to get a car and drive around freely.

How can people who have been convicted of any crime dealing with driving a motorized vehicle be stopped from driving?

The first answer that comes to mind is gruesome even to me and not suitable.

Perhaps some sort of micro chip can be developed that, once implanted, would make it impossible to start any vehicle. That would be far more humane. But it could be looked upon as a hindrance of a criminals civil liberties and to that I say tough $hit.

Antler August 11, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Yank their driving licenses if arrested a second time for DUI!

Same thing for Texting While Driving arrests! and Texting While in a Crosswalk arrests!

And yes I do mean texting ARRESTS.

Tipsy McStagger August 11, 2014 at 3:41 PM

@34 just a concordian…. I believe you are suffering a misconception about the math. A .08% is a .08% no mattter your body weight. A larger animal can drink more without getting as drunk as a smaller one, true, but a .08% corresponds to the same level of impairment no matter how large you are. If you weigh 700 lbs maybe you could chug a six pack and be legal. A ninety pound woman might be illegal after one beer. It takes more alcohol for a heavier person to achieve .08%, but once they reach it, they are just as impaired as a small person who drank less and also achieved .08%, at least in the eyes of the law. Refer to that handy chart that is included in annual registration renewal letters.
¡ Salute !

dilligafman August 11, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Are you kidding me? After convictions? They should be in prison after 2!!!!

BagsFlyFree August 11, 2014 at 5:02 PM

@ Moneypenny, The drinking is not what affects others to create this topic, it’s mainly the transportation to/from that does. People with any addiction can make the wrong choices; however it’s those that affect others directly that we need to tackle in new ways. While I am not in my “party years,” those that are shouldn’t have the burden to drive themselves and others everywhere if they want to relax and have more than .008 will allow. I’m all for ramped up restrictions, but the transportation part of the discussion should not be ignored as many of the horror stories are from those who are not habitual drinkers on a weekday, but rather younger folks who haven’t learned their tolerance and have impared judgement mixed with the sense of invincibility.

BFF Out!

TinFoiler August 11, 2014 at 5:25 PM

This is their SOLUTION?????

Nuttsie the Nutter August 11, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Why all the bleeding hearts that want to give everybody 2 chances? There is NO excuse for getting behind the wheel when you are drunk. It shows a complete disregard for everyone else in the world. And you don’t “accidentally” drive drunk.

One time caught, lose licence, lose car and if making payments tough doo-doo, STIFF fine. Same for texting. If you want to solve the problem you have to make the penalty something that hurts, but it will never happen because it would be politically unpopular.

Chris August 11, 2014 at 5:42 PM

Anyone dumb enough to drink and drive in this day and age should lose their license for several years.

Dorothy August 11, 2014 at 6:34 PM

All for it and something on the drivers license as well since they seem to get those back too.

Dutch August 11, 2014 at 9:12 PM

Yes, but I don’t know what good it will do. If you are concentrating on everybody’s license plate number then you’re not concentrating on your own driving. Seems like it would be good around the guy’s/gal’s neighborhood and at stop signs and signal lights, parking lots too. It won’t prevent him/her from being a bad driver. Take his license away and find a way that will prevent him/her from ever driving again.

Spoons made me Fat August 11, 2014 at 9:13 PM

Most of these comments Nazi and condemning without having any of the facts surrounding the circumstances. A person with a .18 who wrecks and injures someone while should not be put in the same category with a .08 that got pulled over for a tail light out. Most of these comments are pretty harsh.

Should we castrate all sex offenders? What if a 18 year old slept with his 17 year old girlfriend of three years? A fifteen year old boy sexted a picture of his girlfriend and after her mom found it – he had to register as a sex offender for distributing child porn. Should he be put in the same category as a habitual pedophile that preys on children?

This is why we have Judges that hand out sentences deserving of the crime (mostly) and not always bound by some stupid zero tolerance laws as stated above.

KAA August 11, 2014 at 9:18 PM

Nope totally against it. It should be after THE FIRST DUI!!!!!!

VikingPrincess August 11, 2014 at 10:15 PM


Jesse August 11, 2014 at 11:07 PM

No. It wouldn’t solve the problem. It’s a petty and childish idea designed to appeal to the mob mentality. What’s next? Lock them up in stocks so we can pelt them with garbage? Brand them with a “D”? It’s not just drunk driving that kills people. How about we make everyone who gets a speeding ticket walk around with a ball and chain around the ankle to remind them to slow down? Anyone who rolls through a stop sign has to paint a big red stop sign on the side of their car?

Why limit public shaming to driving offenses? How about we make everyone who declares bankruptcy wear a T-shirt that says “I can’t handle money”? How about we make everyone who cheats on their taxes wear a pink tutu and a dunce’s cap for a year? How about we make everyone who fails to get a building permit put a big sign of their lawn that says “I don’t think laws apply to me”?

Freeman August 12, 2014 at 8:05 AM

I lived in MN, and they sort of do this. I think after 3 DUIs the number either started or ended with a specific letter. Only obvious to the cops really.

ex-californian August 12, 2014 at 9:40 AM

@Freeman….See my post above for the link to the Minnesota DMV website…you’ll see that the plates issued to repeat-DUI offenders look VERY different from the standard-issue plates (i.e. a plain background and no space between the letters and numbers)…all the better not just for the cops to see ’em, but also everyone else, who can then report any erratic/dangerous driving to the cops.

Local Guy August 12, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Great idea! Because they couldn’t register their cars in their wife’s or kids names!

Mimi (original) August 12, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Since families often share a car, this would unfairly brand the family members who DON’T drive drunk. I don’t think this would work, though initially it sounds like a great idea.

Don't bother August 12, 2014 at 11:28 AM

This is one of those topics that are thrown out there just to start a debate. This will never happen in Liberalfornia. We are too sensitive to the feelings of the criminals.

Big Al August 12, 2014 at 8:45 PM

Come on Claycord, another low IQ cooler quest.

Informed August 13, 2014 at 1:03 AM

This was introduced by Torlakson about 8 years ago. Due to too many negative reasons to have the second offender plates it was found to be a bad idea. This is a waste of time.

Amb August 13, 2014 at 4:26 AM


If they did that they BETTER put mugshots back on mobile patrol

grewah August 13, 2014 at 8:06 PM

Minnesota had “whiskey” plates (I think they still do). White plates with the first digit W. Not only does the driver have to get the plates, anyone living in the household does. So spouse, kids with their own car, relatives living with you, roommates all need get them. It allows police to stop someone for no reason except the plates. Oh and you get the plates even before the preliminary hearing in most cases. In some cases before a bail hearing. Not sure it does any good but at least you know the car ahead of you could be an issue.

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