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Drivers who are caught drunk on their third DUI could lose their license for up to a decade under legislation signed by the governor Monday.

The measure, AB1061, by Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, allows judges to revoke a person’s driver’s license for up to 10 years if they have three or more convictions for driving under the influence within the prior decade. Currently, courts may only take away a repeat offender’s driver’s license for three years.

The law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2012.

Hill estimated that the measure could help take more than 10,000 repeat DUI offenders off the road each year. Nearly 188,000 DUI convictions were handed down around the state in 2008, he noted, with 9,164 of those drivers on their third conviction and 3,200 with four or more DUI offenses, Hill said.

“I urge judges across the state to use this new authority and take repeat DUI offenders off the road,” Hill said in a statement.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are 1.5 million DUI arrests in California each year, and one-third of those arrested are repeat offenders. In total, more than 310,000 Californians have three or more DUI convictions, according

to the agency.

If you or a loved on has been involved in an auto accident where a drunk driver was at fault contact the personal injury lawyers at Alexander Law Group, LLP, LLP by email or call 888.777.1776 for a free and confidential consultation.

“This legislation is an important step toward making California’s roads safer,” Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement. “Those who have multiple DUI convictions should not be on the road threatening lives.”