SCRAM – could it come to Virginia?

On Friday, September 15th, the VASAP quarterly board meeting discussed [PDF link] SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring) as an alternative to a restricted driver’s license for first time DUI offenders.  Citing the overwhelming number of restricted driver’s license applications processed by clerk of court offices across the Commonwealth, the board brought up SCRAM as an alternative.  State Delegate Manoli Loupassi (R-Richmond) stated that he planned to introduce the SCRAM program as an alternative in the upcoming legislative session.

What is SCRAM?

SCRAM is a for-profit company that offers a program in which an offender wears a bracelet that can continuously monitor for the presence of alcohol through the offender’s sweat.  Called ‘transdermal testing,’ it takes a reading every thirty minutes.  The device prohibits an offender from consuming ANY alcohol while participating in the SCRAM program.

SCRAM is already an option or requirement in many jurisdictions.

Virginia’s Proposal on SCRAM

Discussed at the meeting was a proposal to cut down on the number of restricted driver’s licenses processed by the court system by giving first time offenders a choice – either have a restricted driver’s license for one year and six months of interlock OR maintain a full driver’s license, but participate in interlock and SCRAM for one year.  This would be an order to cease all drinking for one year, but be able to drive one’s own vehicle freely.

SCRAM Downside – The Costs

The biggest problem with SCRAM, especially when combined with interlock, is the cost.  SCRAM costs $50-100 to install, plus a monitoring fee that can run a whopping $365 per month.  With interlock averaging an additional $100 per month, most offenders outside of the wealthy would not be able to afford this program.  Cindy Sheffield, President of the VASAP Directors’ Association and Director of the James River ASAP, brought up this cost factor in the meeting.

Thoughts on SCRAM?

What are your thoughts?  Would you trade your driving restrictions for a system like SCRAM and interlock for a year?

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