Governor Jim Doyle signs OWI bill

Governor Jim Doyle signs OWI bill

Governor Jim Doyle has signed Wisconsin’s new, tougher drunk driving bill. It criminalizes first time drunk driving when kids are in the vehicle, makes some fourth time drunk driving offenses a felony, allows use of ignition interlock devices for repeat offenders, and includes significant increases in fines. But Doyle concedes it’s not the last word. “It’s not everything I wanted, and I think if we went around this room, we could all say there were things we wanted in this bill that are not there,” said Doyle. “But it is a good bill.”

Doyle praised lawmakers, law enforcement and the families of victims who, he said, have worked in the wake of tragedy to make a difference with this legislation. “We are crossing a very significant milestone here today,” the governor said. “But . . . I hope we all recognize that it is not the end of this process at all.”

Doyle, who prosecuted drunk drivers as a district attorney, has made no secret of his support for sobriety checkpoints – which are not in this bill but are seen as a major deterrent in the states which allow them. For now, Doyle said there must be one message on drunk driving: don’t. “This simply must become socially unacceptable behavior by everybody in the state of Wisconsin.”

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