Wisconsin is one step closer to preventing drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel for the umpteenth time.
A move to toughen penalties for repeat drunk drivers makes it through a legislative committee. Currently, there is a schedule of penalties in place for repeat drunk drivers, but it only goes up to a sixth offense. Democrat Senator Jim Sullivan (D- Wauwatosa ) says, after that, penalties remain the same for each offense. He wants to increase them even more!
"What we're doing is providing for incremental penalties so that we can provide law enforcement and prosecutors with the additional tools that they need to get people who either refuse to or are unable to comply with the law … get those people off the road in order to make streets safer for Wisconsin families."
Advocates against drunk driving want a multi-faceted comprehensive approach to resolving the issue, like using ignition interlock switches, tougher sentences and alcohol treatment. Sullivan says he strongly supports treatment, but first, at the very minimum, prosecutors and law enforcement should have the tools to take repeat offenders off the roads for as long as possible.
"When you get to the point where you're at the sixth, seventh or even eighth drunk driving offence, you are clearly somebody's who either flat out refusing to conform your behavior to reasonable modes of conduct or you are so unable to because of the disease that you are unable to comply with the law."
The Committee on Judiciary, Corrections and Housing unanimously voted (5-0) (Tuesday) to send this bill ( SB-116 ) to the Assembly Rules Committee for consideration.