Click on the links below for a more detailed summary/article.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Recommends Lower Legal Limit to Reduce Alcohol-Impaired Driving Crashes
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a 100 page report outlining strategies to eliminate alcohol-impaired driving crashes.
The report makes 19 recommendations calling for stronger laws, swifter enforcement and expanded use of technology. See our blog post discussion here.
Six bills are before the Wisconsin state Legislature that would crack down on drunken driving. (Click on the above article link to access the full Wisconsin State Journal article.) The full text of the bills can be found at: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/Pages/default.aspx
Here is a summary of the bills referenced in the article:
2013 SB 56, 2013 AB 59: Imposes mandatory minimum sentences in OW-causing injury (misdemeanor), OWI-causing substantial bodily harm (Class H felony) and OWI-causing great bodily harm (Class F felony). Exception to the mandatory minimums: Injured party was a passenger and the court concludes a sentence less than the mandatory will be in the best interests of the community and the public will not be harmed.
2013 SB 57, 2013 AB 67: Requires a person charged with an OWI-civil forfeiture to appear in court to plead guilty, no contest or not guilty. Eliminates the ability to pay a ticket to avoid going to court.
2013 SB 58, 2013 AB 68: Makes 1st offense OWI a misdemeanor IF the BAC is 0.15 or greater, subject to fine of $350 - $1,100 and jail of not less than 5 days nor more than 6 months. Also increases the penalties for 2nd offense OWI to a fine of $500 - $1,500, jail of not less than 10 days nor more than 6 months.
2013 SB 59, 2013 AB 70: Imposes mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years confinement in all OWI-causing death cases UNLESS the decedent was a passenger in defendant's car and the court finds the best interests of the community will be served and the public will not be harmed. The court must put its findings in writing.
2013 SB 60, 2013 AB 71: Makes 3rd offense OWI a Class H felony, subject to a fine not less than $600 and jail not less than 45 days; a 4th offense OWI a Class H felony, subject to a fine not less than $600 and jail not less than 60 days. A 4th offense committed within 5 years of a prior is a Class G felony, subject to a fine of not less than $600, jail of not less than 6 months; 7th-9th OWI is a Class F felony, subject to confinement of not less than 3 years; 10th or subsequent OWI is a Class E felony subject to not less than 4 years confinement.
2013 SB 61, 2013 AB 72: Authorizes court ordered vehicle seizure on 3rd & subsequent OWI offenses of the vehicle used in the violation. Forfeiture proceedings are provided in s. 973.076. [NOTE: 2009 Wis Act 100, effective July 1, 2010, eliminated court-ordered vehicle seizure and forfeiture as well as immobilization in favor of requiring installation of ignition interlock devices.]
State Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Representative Jim Ott (R-Mequon) are proposing a bill that would reduce the level at which a repeat OWI offense becomes a felony from a fourth offense to a third offense. The legislators are also pushing for more standardized sentencing guidelines, including instituting a minimum jail sentence for committing an OWI, and exploring the controversial idea of instituting sobriety checkpoints - mandatory stopping points where police officers would stop drivers to check for signs of intoxication. Previously, efforts in the legislature to reduce the felony level for repeat OWI offenses or institute the sobriety checkpoints have failed. However, with the large number of OWI offenses being committed and public outcry to change the way people perceive their chances of getting caught for drunk driving, these lawmakers are once again raising the issue for debate in the legislature. (click on the above article link to access the full Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article).
The Resource Center on Impaired Driving (RCID) provides a wide range of legal information on impaired driving issues to judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement officers, legislators, educators and other citizens. It also plays an integral role in education and training programs on developments in the alcohol and drug-impaired driving fields. (click on the above link to access the full article on page 6).
The Wisconsin State Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (SCAODA) has released a new report offering 49 Wisconsin specific recommendations to improve Wisconsin’s alcohol environment. Unlike states where major aspects of alcohol policy are under statewide control, Wisconsin’s reliance on municipal control allows communities to take control and improve their community alcohol environment.
The report is the product of The Alcohol Culture and Environment Workgroup of SCAODA’s Prevention Committee, a multi-disciplinary workgroup. Nina Emerson, Director of the Resource Center on Impaired Driving served on the group which was chaired by Julia Sherman, Coordinator of the Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project at the Resource Center. Other work group members included community coalition leaders, local elected officials, law enforcement, public health officials and the Wisconsin Departments of Transportation and Health Services.(click on the above article link to access the full ACE Report).
Wisconsin ranks first in percentage of adults who report driving while under the influence of alcohol.
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