Fact Check: All U.S. States Did NOT Approve $710 Savings For Drivers Without DUIs

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard
Fact Check: All U.S. States Did NOT Approve $710 Savings For Drivers Without DUIs Phony Program

Do all U.S. states award $710 to drivers who have had no driving under the influence (DUI) offenses in the past three years? No, that's not true: There is no evidence that such a program exists across all 50 states -- or any state, for that matter.

The claim appeared in a Facebook video (archived here) posted on November 17, 2021. Titled "l," the 13-second video, which was presented as a news report with no attribution, stated:

Online registration is coming to an end to get back $710 through the SODA driving program. If you haven't had a DUI in the last three years, you could qualify. Just tap 'Learn More' below and answer a few questions.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Nov 22 21:23:39 2021 UTC)

Lead Stories found no evidence of a nationwide program that gives drivers a monetary reward for not having any DUIs, nor of any so-called SODA driving program. We used Google Search to find more information using the phrases "money for no dui," "insurance no dui," "soda program no dui" and "soda driving program" and did not generate any trustworthy results that confirmed the existence of such a program.

In an email to Lead Stories on November 22, 2021, Gary Biller, president of the National Motorists Association, referenced two fact checks published earlier this year from Texas news station KHOU 11 and Politifact that both focused on a similar claim with a different monetary reward figure. He said:

In both of those cases, the dollar amount of the credit was alleged to be $610, an odd number, similar to the $710 you've seen. We have heard nothing about a DUI credit, and on its face, it seems absurd. Texas has almost 16 million licensed drivers. Assuming 80 percent of them haven't had DUIs in the past couple of years, the state payout would be on the order of $9.1 billion at the $710 rate. Texas has a $251 billion budget for 2021. It is reasonable to assume that a program that pays out over 3 percent of the whole state budget would have been widely reported, whether in Texas, California, Florida, New York, or even less populated states.

The numbers don't add up.

In a follow-up email, Biller clarified that his example of 80% of Texan drivers without DUIs was "to illustrate the craziness of the numbers," and that he does not have the DUI driver rate for any state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published information about how to prevent or reduce alcohol-impaired driving and fact sheets about alcohol-impaired driving by state that do not mention a so-called SODA program. However, it is important to note that alcohol-impaired driving is not the total scope of a DUI offense. A CDC resource with more general information about drug-impaired driving also does not mention the SODA program or any similar program.

A representative from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an agency under the U.S. Department of Transportation, told Lead Stories in an email on November 22, 2021:

NHTSA is not aware of the program that you are referring to.

Many insurance companies do often offer a "good driver discount" that is applied to drivers that have not had any at-fault offenses in a given period of time. However, that is not the equivalent of a nationwide program, and insurance discounts vary by provider.

Lead Stories also reached out to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and a representative from the American Property Casualty Insurance Association about the claim and will update this story with any relevant responses.

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  Christiana Dillard

Christiana Dillard is a former news writer for Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. She received her undergraduate degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a freelance writer for several organizations including the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, Pitt Magazine, and The Heinz Endowments. When she’s not producing or studying media she’s binging it, watching YouTube videos or any interesting series she can find on streaming services.

Read more about or contact Christiana Dillard

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