Efforts continue at the Capitol to crack down on drunk drivers.
Legislation from state Senator Jim Sullivan (D-Wauwatosa) would make third and fourth offense OWI a felony, expand alcohol treatment programs, and mandate ignition interlocks for repeat offenders. Sullivan says the effort is meant to increase sanctions, provide treatment, and keep dangerous offenders off the road.
Several groups pushing for tougher drunk driving laws are calling for more serious penalties starting with a second OWI. Sullivan says he can understand a couple of bad mistakes, but a third offense means there's a more serious problem and that's when severe action is needed to go after scofflaws.
The bill is one of many proposals at the Capitol this session designed to toughen penalties against drunk drivers. Sullivan says his is the first to combine several different approaches into one initiative. He says the state needs to enact a multi-tiered reform that gives officials more flexibility in how to handle and treat repeat offenders.
The bill goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.