Dodd bills would bolster data breach protection, DUI prevention

Two bills from California Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) would strengthen California laws that protect the public from data breaches, and would double funding for California Highway Patrol’s programs combatting chemically-impaired driving.

Dodd represents Martinez in the state Senate.

He was inspired in part by the 2017 Equifax data breach to compose Senate Bill 1121, said Paul Payne, Dodd’s press secretary, who issued the statements about the two bills.

The Equifax breach affected nearly 150 million consumers, and exposed their Social Security numbers, birth dates, names, addresses and in some cases, credit card and driver license numbers.

Dodd’s bill will give consumers more time to file claims against companies and set damages in amounts ranging from $200 to $1,000.

“We must hold companies accountable for the harm they cause and ensure consumers are made whole for substantial economic damage that can surface many years down the road,” Dodd said. “I know my Senate colleagues agree with the need for protection. And I look forward to their support.”

SB 1121 has the support of the Consumer Attorneys of California, the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG), the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, New Economic for Women and the National Association of Consumer Advocacy among other groups, Payne said.

A second bill from Dodd, Senate Bill 973, is designed to give the state’s drunken driving prevention program a boost. It received bipartisan support in the Senate Monday.

“Drunken driving is taking a heavy toll on our state and we must do everything we can to prevent it,” Dodd said.

“This bill will help reduce the number of people who drink before getting behind the wheel, saving lives and protecting everyone on the road,” he said. “I applaud my fellow senators for supporting it and taking an important step toward addressing this vexing problem.”

SB 973 doubles the amount of funding available for the California Highway Patrol’s prevention program by increasing the annual assessment on alcohol licenses from $5 to $10, Payne said in the announcement.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office has released statistics that said more than 125,000 people were arrested for drunken-driving in California in 2016.

In that same year, the state had 35,212 alcohol-related crashes that caused 13,979 injuries. In addition, 2016 drunken-driving crashes killed 1,059 people statewide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Established in 1990, the Designated Driver Program is funded by the surcharge paid by alcohol licensees, not taxpayers. The program is administered by the CHP to develop and implement new strategies and technologies to combat the problem of driving under the influence, Payne said.

The bill has the support of AAA Northern California, the California Association of Highway Patrolmen and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

“The California Highway Patrol is our state’s front line defense against drunken driving, and funding programs to increase designated driver programs and alternative transportation options is an effort AAA is proud to support,” said John Moreno, public affairs manager for AAA Northern California.

“The pain of losing a loved one because of the negligence of a drunken driver is something no family should experience, and I’d like to thank the California Senate, and Senator Dodd in particular, for their commitment to making California’s roads safer for everyone,” Moreno said.

The additional money would allow the CHP increase public outreach through social media and would let officers target high-impact locations, Payne said. The bill passed 36-2 and moves next to the Assembly for further consideration.

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